A Short Nasiha From My Heart To Your Heart, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant, and His Messenger.

“O You who believe, – Fear Allah, as He should be feared, and die not except as Muslims.”

“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.”

My Respected Brothers and Sisters! Our worldwide family of Islam, the Muslim Ummah, is almost two billion strong. How many of us speak Arabic as our mother tongue? Do you know? Can you guess? The answer is less than 20%. To be precise, it’s 18%. That means that the vast majority of Muslims, 82% including you and me, are non-Arabic speakers. We must make a special effort to understand what we read in the Qur’an and what we recite in Salah (Prayer), Du’ah and Zikr.

Brothers and Sisters, I hope no one will take offence, and I mean no disrespect to anyone. But I have to say that too many of us do not appreciate the importance of understanding the meaning of our Salah, our Du’ah and Zikr. We’re quite satisfied to recite without knowing the meaning, without caring to learn the translations. I’m sure Allah the Almighty enjoys listening to us reciting His Noble Words with such tremendous passion, with meticulous pronunciation of every haraf in [tajwid]. But, how much more will Allah the Most High not appreciate our efforts, if we actually knew what we are saying?

Imagine, we are speaking to Allah in the most elegant language of the Qur’an, our lips are moving and creating the most beautiful sounds, but our thoughts and our feelings are disconnected because we don’t really feel the full impact of what we are saying. We don’t really understand. And sadly, many of us make no real effort to understand. We should all make an effort to learn Arabic. And if we find that too difficult, we should at least memorise a few short Suras (Chapters) in our own language.

If only we could think about the meanings when we recite the Arabic, then we could put meaning and feeling into those beautiful and soul-stirring words. If we did this regularly and systematically, then the true power and influence of Allah’s sacred words will touch our hearts. And when this happens, it will change us, it will transform us from what we are to what Allah wants us to become.

Brothers and Sisters! If we can allow Allah’s words to polish our hearts and improve our actions, then I guarantee you, Allah will enable us to put right many of the problems we see around us in our community and in our wider society. It must begin within ourselves, as Allah will not change our condition until we change what is within ourselves. Let us make a start, by learning the meaning and reciting with feeling, passionate feeling, our Salah, Du’ah and Zikr.

I must admit, I was a big man in my first ten years when I first understood the meaning of the words that we say several times a day when we pray: When I realised the meaning of those words, I thought, Wow! That’s heavy stuff! I never knew that I was taking on such a huge responsibility every time I made my Salah! I was actually promising and reaffirming that all my prayers, my sacrifice, my life and my death belong to Allah!

These words cannot be taken lightly. It’s a complete, lifelong commitment and it affects everything we say and do. And you know, the more we think of the meaning, the more our Salah our Du’ah and Zikr will change our lives for the better. Imagine if we really understood every Du’ah and every Zikr and we reflected deeply on the meanings. This understanding will generate a complete transformation in the way we think and feel about ourselves and our responsibilities to others.

True faith, true Iman, does not enter someone’s heart without improving it, without beautifying it. So, if we want our lives to be improved, to be beautified, then we can begin by learning the meanings of all that we recite in Arabic with so much skill and elegance.

If you want proof of this power of Allah’s words to transform human beings from half savages to leaders of great civilisations, then look to the history of every people before their contact with Islam, and afterwards. This is what happened to the Sahaba so many years ago, and to all the true and sincere Awliyah-Allah, the Friends of Allah, throughout the ages. They understood every word of their Salah, Du’ah and Zikr, so that they could put meaning and feeling into their worship. They could be absolutely sincere to Allah the Almighty. Unless we know what we’re saying, feeling and doing, our efforts will lack complete sincerity.

So, for those of us who do not speak Arabic, let us make a sincere effort to memorise the meanings of our Salah, Du’ah and Zikr. Let us think and reflect on these meanings so that our hearts can be moved and our behaviour improved. This will bring us closer to Allah the Most High. Thinking, reflecting and contemplating the words of Allah is highly recommended in the Noble Qur’an. Those who do so are referred to as “yatafak-karun” or, people of understanding.

These inspiring and soul-stirring words come from the last verses of Surah Ali Imran as follows:

“Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought): Our Lord! not in vain have You created (all) this! Glory to You! give us salvation from the penalty of the fire.”

Brothers and Sisters! In Islam people who think and reflect are highly valued above those who simply follow without thinking, without reflection and therefore without insight into the deeper meanings of life. Please read Malik Badri’s book, “Contemplation is worth much more than 30 nights of prayer….”

Brothers and Sisters! let us through a deeper understanding of our faith become those whom Allah calls, yatafak-karun, ‘people who contemplate,’ people who reflect, people who understand.

I ask Allah to give us all some of his divine wisdom, hikma, so that we have a light to illuminate our way through the confusion in the world out there. May Allah help us and all our future generations to know and love the beautiful Way of Islam. May we all hold fast to the rope that Allah extends for us. May we all set a good example for others, a justly balanced community, ummatan wasatan, and a witness to the nations.

Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For You are the All-Hearing, the All-knowing.

O my Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.

My Respected Brothers and Sisters! As Ramadan approaches, we all must take stock of ourselves. It’s a good time to make sure that our body, mind, heart and soul are in good health. Ramadan is a much needed time for training our body, mind, heart and soul. Please allow me to remind myself first, then all of you: Be aware of your inward state. Whatever we do here and now has consequences elsewhere, and perhaps, forever! We perceive the world around us through our five senses, but our senses are limited. Even through a whole lifetime we only experience a very small segment of reality. Even then, that reality, or rather, our perception of reality is coloured by our own prejudices, our limited knowledge and experience. But beyond the threshold of our senses is the realm of the Ghaib or the Unseen. This realm is far more complex than we can possibly imagine.

For example, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that whenever people are studying, seeking knowledge for Allah’s sake, then Allah’s angels are there, surrounding them with their wings. You and I cannot see the angels but they are certainly there, protecting us right now. In the same way, we cannot see the devils, the jinn, the subtle beings that try to mislead us from the Straight Path, the Siratal Mustaqim. But they are there, nonetheless, waiting in ambush to entrap us!

We sometimes act under the influence of these dark forces, without even being aware of it. That’s why an entire chapter (Surah), Al-Nas, is devoted to our seeking Allah’s protection from Shaitan, the Evil Whisperer who whispers evil inclinations into our hearts. That’s why, many times each day, we take refuge in Allah from Shaitan, the Cursed One:

“A’uzu bil-Lahi minash shaitanir rajim!”

We are taught to say this even before we say:

“Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim!” In the Name of Allah, The All Merciful, the All Compassionate.”

Ayatul kursiy, The Verse of the Throne, reminds us that no human being will gain any knowledge except what Allah has allowed. Allah has gifted some of His beloved servants with knowledge of the Unseen. For example, Surah Al-Kahf we read about Sayyidina Khidr who had a deep inner sight, the gift of Divine Wisdom. Allah gave him special knowledge of the Unseen, the realm of the Ghaib.

Prophet Musa (Moses), had much to learn from him. How can we protect ourselves from all these hidden dangers and dark forces that lay in wait for the unwary? How can we ensure a safe journey through this life so that we reach the goal of Allah’s Ridwan, Allah’s good pleasure, in the next life? The answer is quite simple. You and I have to do our regular good housekeeping. We must vacuum, scrub and polish our spiritual heart, the qalb. We must constantly remove the rust and debris that’s built up over the years: all the anger, the hate, jealousy, greed and vanity that pollute the innermost recesses of our spiritual hearts. We must ensure that the Fu’ad, the kernel, the inner core of the spiritual heart, is pure and pristine as it was the day we were born. This job is never done. It’s a lifelong struggle. When we start to wage this jihadun nafs, the war against the Lower Self, then Allah will illuminate our hearts with wisdom, with love, with generosity with inner peace and contentment. This is how we can cultivate the ‘pure, sound heart,’ the Qalb salim that will open the door to Allah’s Garden, Al-Jannah Firdaws. That’s were we all want to be, forever…

As the Noble Qur’an reminds us in Surah 26:89 (Al-Shu’arah, The Poets):

“None shall enter the Garden except those with a sound heart.”

My Dear Brothers and Sisters! I pray that Allah will help you and me, and all our loved ones, to reach the end of our lives with a pure, sound heart. I pray that we will constantly be ready to leave this world and ready to enter the next world with full confidence and trust in Allah. Only when we are ready for our departure, then we qualify for a safe arrival!

No matter how stressful life may be, no matter how messy and confusing the world out there might be, we know that everything is in Allah’s good hands: “Biyadikal khayr.” “In His Hand is all good.” We know that Allah allows people to think they are in control. But that’s a delusion. Allah allows us all a little bit of control over our lives, and over the affairs of other people that Allah has entrusted to our care. But ultimately, Allah alone is always in full control of every part of His entire creation, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the greatest cluster of galaxies and supernovae. “Wa huwa ala kulli shai’in qadir!” says the Quran in so many places… “And Allah has power over all things.”

Sometimes people forget that. But true believers never forget The One Who has ultimate power and control. We can take real comfort from that faith, that reassurance that the ups and downs of life are only tests of patience and gratitude from our generous Life-Giver.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Your Brother,

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: Why You Should Start Fasting, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Qur’an, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Qur’an, 4:1]

“O you who believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Qur’an, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, the month of Qur’an, the month of blessing and mercy, is quickly approaching for Muslims, due to start around Wednesday, 16th May 2018 or Thursday, 17th May 2018, and will last 29 or 30 days. I say ‘around’ for the date and duration, because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, and the beginning of each month is determined by when the new moon is seen.

This means that Muslims around the world await with great anticipation the announcement from their leaders that the new moon – known as the ‘hilal’ in Arabic – has been sighted. The excitement is greatest ahead of the crescent which will herald the first of Ramadan, topped only by the new moon which marks Eid-ul- Fitr, the celebration that takes place on the first day of the month after Ramadan (i.e. Shawwal), and marks the end of the month of fasting.

No wonder then that the crescent is a symbol of such potency among the Muslim Ummah. At its most fundamental level it determines the Islamic calendar which runs side by side with the solar calendar and so gives rhythm to the lives of Muslims.

Sighting the moon is a communal enterprise, and many Muslims especially in warmer climes will venture into the open as darkness begins to fall to see if they can spot the sliver in the sky that everyone is waiting for. When it marks the beginning of Ramadan it resonates with community and togetherness.

Fasts begin at dawn and last till dusk, and so the moon set in the backdrop of darkness represents the time available for eating and night prayers.

And of course, the new moon appearing at the end of Ramadan marks the close of an intensely spiritual and community-focused month of daytime restraint, ushering in the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival of breaking fast.

Ramadan is a tough month physically and so the proclamation of the end of fasting mingles a sense of sadness that Ramadan has gone, with a natural excitement that daytime consumption is once again possible.

Eid is seen as a time of beginnings, and so the crescent moon carries with it the innocent pleasure of a fresh start.

The crescent moon is also the key symbol for Muslims: used in flags, cards and messaging. It is a favourite among marketers as it can act as shorthand for describing something ‘Islamic.’ The challenge for marketers is to avoid slipping from the status of shorthand, into being the lazy overuse of a powerful symbol that therefore becomes cliched and diluted in meaning.

For Muslims, the crescent brings with it a mix of excitement, nervousness and community togetherness, tying the emotional and functional parts of faith together. And when it comes to the arrival of the month of Ramadan, Muslims will be waiting for news as to the first sighting of the magical sliver in the sky.

Dear Servants of Allah! Know that, FASTING is not unique to the Muslims. It has been practiced for centuries in connection with religious ceremonies by Christians, Jews, Confucianists, Hindus, Taoists, and Jains. Allah the Almighty mentions this fact in the Qur’an:

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop Allah-consciousness.” [Qur’an, 2:183]

I also learn that some Native American societies observed fast to avert catastrophe or to serve as penance for sin. Native North Americans held tribal fasts to avert threatening disasters. The Native Americans of Mexico and the Incas of Peru observed penitential fasts to appease their deities. Past nations of the Old World, such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians, observed fasting as a form of penance. Jews observe fast as a form of penitence and purification annually on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. On this day neither food nor drink is permitted.

Early Christians associated fasting with penitence and purification. During the first two centuries of its existence, the Christian church established fasting as a voluntary preparation for receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism and for the ordination of priests. Later, these fasts were made obligatory, as other days were subsequently added. In the 6th century, the Lenten fast was expanded to 40 days, on each of which only one meal was permitted. After the Reformation, fasting was retained by most Protestant churches and was made optional in some cases. Stricter Protestants, however, condemned not only the festivals of the church, but its traditional fasts as well.

In the Roman Catholic Church, fasting may involve partial abstinence from food and drink or total abstinence. The Roman Catholic days of fasting are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In the United States, fasting is observed mostly by Episcopalians and Lutherans among Protestants, by Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and by Roman Catholics.

My respected people! Today, fasting took another form in the West: The hunger strike, a form of fasting, which in modern times has become a political weapon after being popularized by Mohandas Gandhi, leader of the struggle for India’s freedom, who undertook fasts to compel his followers to obey his precept of nonviolence.

With all what I have mentioned above, Islam is the only religion that has retained the outward and spiritual dimensions of fasting throughout centuries. Selfish motives and desires of the base self alienate a man from his Creator. The most unruly human emotions are pride, avarice, gluttony, lust, envy, stinginess, and anger. These emotions by their nature are not easy to control, thus a person must strive hard to discipline them. Muslims fast to purify their soul, it puts a bridle on the most uncontrolled, savage human emotions. People have gone to two extremes with regard to them. Some let these emotions steer their life which lead to barbarism among the ancients, and crass materialism of consumer cultures in modern times. Others tried to deprive themselves completely of these human traits, which in turn led to monasticism.

The fourth Pillar of Islam, the Fast of Ramadan, occurs once each year during the 9th lunar month, the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which:

“…the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for the people.” [Qur’an, 2:185]

Allah in His infinite mercy has exempt the ill, travelers, and others who are unable from fasting during Ramadan.

Fasting helps Muslims develop self-control, gain a better understanding of Allah’s gifts and greater compassion toward the deprived. Fasting in Islam involves abstaining from all bodily pleasures between dawn and sunset. Not only is food forbidden, but also any sexual activity. All things which are regarded as prohibited is even more so in this month, due to its sacredness. Each and every moment during the fast, a person suppresses their passions and desires in loving obedience to Allah. This consciousness of duty and the spirit of patience helps in strengthening our faith. Fasting helps a person gain self-control. A person who abstains from permissible things like food and drink is likely to feel conscious of his sins. A heightened sense of spirituality helps break the habits of lying, staring with lust at the opposite sex, gossiping, backbiting and wasting time. Staying hungry and thirsty for just a day’s portion makes one feel the misery of the millions who go hungry or those who are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger. After all, why would anyone care about starvation if one has never felt its pangs oneself? One can see why Ramadan is also a month of charity and giving not a month of stinginess and miserliness.

At dusk, the fast is broken with a light meal popularly referred to as IFTAR. Families and friends share a special late evening meal together, often including special foods and sweets served only at this time of the year. Many go to the Mosque for the evening prayer, followed by special prayers recited only during Ramadan. Some will recite the entire Qur’an as a special act of piety, and public recitations of the Qur’an can be heard throughout the evening. Families rise before dawn to take their first meal of the day, which sustains them until sunset. Near the end of Ramadan Muslims commemorate the “Night of Power” when the Qur’an was revealed. The month of Ramadan ends with one of the two major Islamic celebrations, the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast, called Eid-ul-Fitr. On this day, Muslims joyfully celebrate the completion of Ramadan and customarily distribute gifts to children. Muslims are also obliged to help the poor join in the spirit of relaxation and enjoyment by distributing Zakatul-fitr, a special and obligatory act of charity in the form of staple foodstuff, in order that all may enjoy the general euphoria of the day.

* How To Determine The Beginning And End Of Ramadan

Beloved Servants of Allah! Precisely determining the beginning and end of Ramadan is very important because it indicates when to start and stop fasting. Therefore, it is an obligation on the Muslim community to ensure that this is determined accurately and publicized sufficiently.

* How The Islamic Lunar Calendar Works

The Islamic lunar calendar consists of twelve months, with Ramadan being the ninth month. Each month lasts twenty-nine or thirty days. Six months will be twenty-nine days and another six will be thirty days, thus making 354 days per lunar year. Technically, the lunar year consists of 354.37 days while the mean time between new moons is 29.53 days.

The way this was calculated during the time of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was that people would look at the sky at the beginning of every lunar month. If the new crescent was sighted, it would mean the next month has begun and the previous one has ended. The crescent is the sunlit portion of the moon as seen from Earth and varies according to the changing positions of the Sun, Moon, and Earth.

* How Ramadan Was Determined In The Prophet’s Lifetime

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Since each month could only consist of twenty-nine or thirty days, Muslims would go outside on the twenty-ninth day of Sha’aban (which is the 8 month in the Islamic calendar) after sunset to look for the new crescent in the sky. If the new moon crescent was seen by people sometime during the night, it would mean that the month of Sha’aban was twenty-nine days and now the month of Ramadan has entered. However, if it is not visible it means that the month of Sha’aban consists of thirty days and Ramadan will begin the following day.

The end of the month is determined in the same way by establishing that the new moon crescent is visible on the twenty-ninth of Ramadan after sunset. If it is then Ramadan will consist of only twenty-nine days and the following day is the month of Shawwal, which is Eid. However, if it is not visible it means that the month of Ramadan consists of thirty days and the month of Shawwal will begin the following day.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) instructed his Companions to follow this method when he said:

“Start fasting when you see it (i.e. the crescent) and stop fasting (i.e. Ramadan is over) when you see it. If the sky is cloudy (and you can’t see the crescent on the 29) then consider Sha’aban as thirty days.” [Al-Bukhari]

It should be clear from this that months in the Islamic calendar were not known in advance whether they would consist of twenty-nine or thirty days.

* The Desire For Predetermined Months

As communications in the Muslim community became more complex, there was a need to have predetermined months for scheduling purposes. It would be very inconvenient for people in the same region to be using different calendars. Since the visibility of the crescent was not predictable in advance, another method would have to be used.

One such method was the new moon conjunction, which, in astronomical terms, is when the moon is precisely between the Earth and Sun. During conjunction (which is also known as moon-birth) the moon is not visible from Earth because the sunlit portion of the moon is facing away from the Earth.

New moon conjunction is precisely predictable and can be calculated exactly. The crescent moon only becomes visible from Earth about a day or two after the new moon conjunction because even when the three celestial bodies are not in a straight line, the moon is still too close to the sun’s glare to be seen with the naked eye from Earth. It is important to understand that the moon is ‘born’ about one or two days before it is actually visible, so moon-birth and
moon-visibility are two entirely different things.

Another method which was adopted in 1420 AH/1999 CE by the Ummul Qura calendar in Saudi Arabia was that if moonset occurs after sunset in Makkah on the 29 day of any month, then the month is over. This calculation is also precisely deterministic and took into consideration a time that is closer to the visibility of the moon than conjunction.

Also The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) have adopted a similar approach where the presence of the moon above the horizon at sunset anywhere on the globe is the criteria. This is precisely determined when the elongation of the moon is at least eight degrees and it is at least five degrees above the horizon.

* Which Calendar Should Determine Ramadan

As can be seen, even predetermined calendars which are calculated according to precise measurements require some specific methodology, such as conjunction, moonset-after-sunset, or some other precise measurements. The differing methodologies will result in different calculated calendars.

The question arose among some Muslim scholars: should Ramadan, and other religious days of fasting/celebration such as the 10 of Muharram (Ashura) and the 10 of Dhul Hijjah (Eid-Al-Adha), be determined through actual crescent sightings or a predetermined calendar?

Several Islamic scholars argued that dates which have a religious significance should be determined through actual crescent sightings, the way the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) did, and the calculated calendar can be used for civil purposes. Other scholars posited that a calculated calendar should be used for both civil and religious dates, the same way that it is used by most urban Muslims throughout the world for their prayer times, without having to actually check the light in the horizon for Fajr or the shadow-length for Asr.

* What Variables Result In Differing Opinions On The Issue

For example, in the year 1939, Egypt announced Eid-Al-Adha to be on Monday, Saudi Arabia announced it for Tuesday, and India determined it to be on Wednesday. This is common almost every year. How could there be three different dates?

There are several variables which result in different conclusions about when the lunar month should begin and end. Understanding these differences will help a person understand why the issue is not as simplistic as it seems.

Global Sighting vs Local Sighting: If one region in the world sees the crescent but the other does not, should they adopt the same date or a different date? Muslim scholars have disagreed over this issue because it was not directly addressed by the Prophet (Peace be upon him). In the past, one city like Makkah may sight the crescent but the Muslims in Damascus do not. News about the sighting would take a long time to travel, and the people of Damascus would have already skipped the first day of fasting, assuming that Ramadan had not begun yet. Therefore, in the past, some Muslim communities would begin and end Ramadan on different days. With the advent of modern communications, it seems that this issue has been resolved because one region can instantaneously send a message to another region about purported sightings. Nonetheless, it remains a variable which influences the date of Ramadan.

Rejection of Witnesses: If a person reports that they saw the new crescent, but no one else did, should that person’s testimony be accepted? Does there need to be more than one witness? What if the person is known to be dishonest or has a bad memory? What if they claimed to see the moon but it was almost impossible for them to actually see it? To what extent should their report be scrutinized? These questions, and others, concerning the testimony of witnesses results in different conclusions. One group may accept the testimony of a witness and declare the start of Ramadan, while another may reject it.

Usage of Technology: Should high powered telescopes or other technology be used to sight the new crescent, even if it cannot be seen with the naked eye? If so, how many of them should be deployed in each region of the world to ensure a proper sighting? Usage of such technology would potentially ensure an earlier start date, but would also be very costly and difficult to implement.

Potential Visibility or Actual Sighting: If it is known that the crescent is visible in a particular area, but no one actually goes out to sight it, for whatever reason, should it be taken into consideration? If high-tech internet-enabled telescopes were set up in different parts of the world and Muslims had the ability to stream the video from those devices, would this count as a sighting?

Accuracy of Visibility Calculations: Astronomers have developed maps to predict when and where the crescent is likely to be viewable on any given date. However, there is more than one way of determining this. How accurate are these calculations? Should we use these approximations to discredit witnesses who claimed they saw the crescent even though it was difficult or almost impossible to do so?

These are some of the variables encountered when attempting to determine the beginning of a month in the lunar calendar and should help explain why people arrive at different conclusions.

* How To Achieve Unity In Ramadan

It may sound ideal to try to unite the entire world upon one date, but given the host of variables involved in the process, it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Since some aspects of determining the new month were left vague by the Prophet (Peace be upon him), people will naturally differ in trying to interpret what Allah and His Messenger really intended.

Therefore, I believe that trying to achieve local unity is more important, and should be the priority of our efforts. If two neighbouring countries were to observe Ramadan on different days, it would be less impactful than two neighbouring cities determining the month differently. Likewise, two neighbouring cities disagreeing would have less consequences than people in the same city, or the same Mosque, or even in the same household beginning and ending Ramadan on different days.

Respected Servants of Allah! The issue boils down to respect for authority. Muslims must obey and respect their leaders on this issue. In the absence of any central authority within a locality, whether it be a city, state, or country, any Muslim is free to adopt whatever criteria they want. Muslims, in any locality, must have leaders who are willing to come together and agree on one criteria to adopt, even if they do not agree it is the ideal or most correct method. This is the first step. The next step would be to ensure that the Muslims respect the decision of those leaders and agree to follow it, even if they are not convinced it is the most accurate method.

Until this occurs, Muslims may find peace in knowing that no calendar in the world is absolute, that the Prophet took into consideration foggy evenings when the crescent is not visible, and that Allah will judge us according to our intentions and efforts.

For example, like we, the Nigerian Muslim Ummah, Islamically and Sunnatically it is only the Amirul Mu’mineen, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, The President General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic affairs (NSCIA) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has the complete right to make an announcement for the starting and finishing the Ramadan fasting. The Sultan had a strong and reliable moon sighting committee which he is leading, together with him are the Emirs, Obas, Ohinoyis, Islamic scholars, religious leaders, university dons etc. They are following the guidelines of Islamic shari’ah concerning this important issue. Therefore it is a great innovation (Bid’ah), foolishness and lack of understanding of Islam for any Islamic scholar or any leader of any organization, sect or group to command his followers to fast or to stop fasting, because doing so is the simple way of bringing disunity, chaos and confusion in the Ummah. We have to fear Allah about the religion of Islam and the unity of this Ummah. We must avoid and stop making any contribution in disuniting the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

* Who Is The Person Of Good Character (Adali) Whose Statement About Sighting The Moon May Be Accepted by the Sultan’s Committee?

Dear Servants of Allah! In Arabic, the word Adl (Person of good character) means upright or straight; its opposite is crooked.

In shari’ah terminology it means the one who fulfils the obligatory duties and does not commit major sins, or persist in committing minor sins.

What is meant by fulfilling obligatory duties is things like the five daily prayers.

And he does not commit major sins such as spreading malicious gossip and backbiting.

As well as being of good character, he must also have strong eyesight and good memory, so that his claims may be believed. If he has weak eyesight, weak memory then his testimony cannot be accepted even if he is of good character, because if he gives testimony even though his eyesight is weak, then he is deluded.

The evidence for that is the fact that Allah has made strength and trustworthiness among the reasons for offering employment to a person. In the story of Prophets Musa and Shu’aib (AS), one of Shu’aib’s two daughters said:

“O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” [Qur’an, 28:26]

And the ifrit among the jinn who was commanded to bring the throne of the queen of Saba said:

“And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.” [Qur’an, 27:39]

These two characteristics are the basis of every deed, including giving testimony.

[See Al-Sharh al-Mumti, vol. 6 page 323 and  al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, vol. 30 page 5, Kuwait edition]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Friday Sermon, and I ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is All-forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 17, 1439 AH (May 4, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: Sha’Aban: A Month Neglected By Many People, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Qur’an, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Qur’an, 4:1]

“O you who believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Qur’an, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Dear Servants of Allah! The Islamic lunar calendar comprises of twelve months. Each month of the Islamic calendar has its religious as well as historical significance, however, there are a few months that hold a superior stature compared to other months and because of this they are given more value and respect by the Muslims. One of such months is the month of Sha’aban.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Sha’aban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. It falls between two sacred months, Rajab and Ramadan. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) used to spend most part of Sha’aban by fasting, Imam Bukhari reports in his Sahih that Aishah (RA) said:

“The Messenger (Peace be upon him) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and he would not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’aban.”

Today, some ignorant people however have themselves specified particular nights of the year, when they stay awake all night and worship Allah. It is believed that anyone who worships Allah in these specific nights, it will recompense for his yearly deeds and will be enough for his salvation and entering Jannah. One among these nights is the night of mid Sha’aban (15th Sha’aban), which is popularly known as ‘NISFU SHA’ABAN.’ In Shaa Allah I’ll elaborate further on this issue in a bit.

Imam Ibn Rajab said:

“Fasting in Sha’aban is better than fasting in the sacred months (i.e. Dhul-Qadah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab – [Surah Tawbah, 9:36], and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawatib, which are done before and after fard (prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadan are better than fasts at other times.” [See Lata’if al-Ma’arif fima li Mawasim al-Aam minal-Waza’if, by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali]

Dear Servants of Allah! When Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) was asked, why he fasted so abundantly in the month of Sha’aban, he (Peace be upon him) said:

“(Sha’aban) is a month to which people do not pay attention, which people neglected, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds (Allah). And I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.” [An-Nasa’i, See also Sahih al-Targhib wat-Tarhib, page 425]

This and other Ahadith of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) encourage performing good deeds when people are likely to become negligent of Allah’s remembrance and worship, like remembering Allah in the market place, where people get busy in their dealings and in times of difficulty – Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Worship at times of tribulation (fitnah) is like Hijrah (migration) to me.” [Sahih Muslim]

The virtue and superiority of worshiping Allah when people tend to become negligent of Allah’s remembrance is because worship at such times is more difficult than worshiping Allah when everybody is engaged in the worship.

Fasting in Sha’aban serves as training before Ramadan. However, fasting the whole month of Sha’aban is Makruh (dislike) and against the Sunnah and way of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him). Ibn Abbas (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadan.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

It is also prohibited to fast at the end of Sha’aban with the intention of not missing the first days of Ramadan, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly and the last day of Sha’aban coincides with a day when the person habitually fasts, those who are bound by vows or have to make up some obligatory fasts. It is reported in Sahih al-Bukhari from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not preempt Ramadan by one or two days, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly, in which case they may fast.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Fasting at the end of Sha’aban is prohibited to maintain distinction between the obligatory and voluntary fasts – it is also a precaution to prevent the people from falling into the trap of Shaitan (Satan), who persuaded the People of the Book (Ahlul Kitab) to add more fasts to that which Allah had made obligatory for them. For this same reason, it is also prohibited to fast on the ‘day of doubt (Yaumu as-Shak).’ A day of doubt is when people are not sure about the start of Ramadan, because of cloudy weather, or some other reason.

* NISFU SHA’ABAN (15th Sha’aban): Is there any reality?

Respected Servants of Allah! Some ignorant people have themselves specified particular nights of the year, when they stay awake all night and worship Allah. It is believed that anyone who worships Allah in these specific nights, it will recompense for his yearly deeds and will be enough for his salvation and entering Jannah. One among these nights is the night of mid Sha’aban (15th Sha’aban), which is popularly known as ‘NISFU SHA’ABAN’ in the Arabic language.

Specifying particular nights for worshiping Allah is against the Sunnah and way of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). In fact, he (Peace be upon him) has strictly forbade specifying particular nights for worship, he said concerning Friday:

“Do not single out the night (preceding) Friday among the nights for prayer and do not single out Friday among days for fasting but only when anyone among you is accustomed to fast (on dates) which coincide with this day (Friday).” [Sahih Muslim]

Friday is the best day of the week and it is also greatly encouraged to perform good deeds on Friday. If it had been enough to worship Allah during some specific nights, and then become negligent of Him throughout the year, then Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) would have specified the night of Friday for worshiping Allah, but he forbade it. This clearly proves that worshiping Allah only during some particular nights in the whole year does not fulfill the slave’s obligation of worshiping his Lord. The slave is required to worship Allah at all times until his death, because worship is the sole purpose of man’s creation. Allah says:

“Glorify, the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) until there comes to you death.” [Qur’an, 15:99]

It was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) to worship Allah all throughout the year, all his nights and days were spent in the worship of Allah.

The Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) during the month of Sha’aban was to fast and he (Peace be upon him) said concerning the virtue of Sha’aban:

“…it (Sha’aban) is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” [An-Nasa’i, See also Sahih al-Targhib wat-Tarhib, page 425]

Apart from this, most narrations that are commonly spread among the people concerning the virtues of the month of Sha’aban or specifically the night of 15th Sha’aban (Nisfu Sha’aban) are weak and fabricated. Scholars like Imams ash-Shawkani, Ibn Jawzi, Ibn Hibban, al-Qurtubi have greatly condemned these narrations. [For details refer to Al-Fawa’id al-Majmu’ah, Maudhu’at al-Kubrah and Tafsir Qurtubi]

From among the fabricated Ahadith are those which mention: “On this day (15th Sha’aban) Allah frees people from the Hellfire in accordance with the number of hair found on the skin of the goats of the tribe of Banu Kalb”, “anyone who prays fourteen Raka’ahs of Salah on the night of 15th Sha’aban will get the reward of accepted fasts and Hajj of twenty years”, etc. Anybody who relates such fabricated Ahadith should be reminded of the authentic Hadith of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), which says:

“Whosoever narrated a lie on my behalf, let him make his place in Hellfire.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Beloved Servants of Allah! The night of 15th Sha’aban has also been given the status and virtues of Lailatul-Qadr by misinterpreting Qur’anic verses. It is claimed that the lailatim-mubarakah (blessed night) mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhan [Qur’an, 44:3], refers to the night of 15th Sha’aban, when Allah forgives the sins of His slaves, increases their ages and provisions. Therefore, people stay awake all night and say innovated (Bid’ah) supplications in loud voices.

Allah says in Surah ad-Dukhan:

“By the manifest Book (this Qur’an) that makes things clear, We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night (laylatim-mubarakah). Verily, we are ever warning.” [Qur’an, 44:2]

Allah informs us in this verse that He sent down the Qur’an in laylatim-mubarakah (the blessed night). The Qur’an itself identifies laylatim-mubarakah in other verses, it is mentioned in Surah al-Qadr [Qur’an, 97:1]:

“Verily, We have revealed it (the Qur’an) down in the Night of al-Qadr.”

So, according to this verse, laylatim-mubarakah is not the night of 15th Sha’aban but it is the Night of al-Qadr, which comes in Ramadan. Allah says in Surah al-Baqarah [Qur’an, 2:185]:

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an…”

Another deviant belief related to the night 15th of Sha’aban is that the mention of the descent of Ruh in Surah al-Qadr [Qur’an, 97:4], means that the souls of the dead people return back to the world and meet their wives and relatives. For this reason, widows prepare food liked by their husbands and wait for their arrival. People also visit graves and seek forgiveness for all those people who have died between the last Sha’aban and the present one.

Allah says in Surah al-Qadr:

“Therein (in the Night of Qadr) descend the Angels and the Ruh by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees.” [Qur’an, 97:4]

Firstly, this verse refers to the Night of al-Qadr and not 15th Sha’aban as explained earlier. Secondly, descending of the Ruh in this verse means the descending of Angel Jibrilu with other Angels and not souls of the dead people (See Tafsir Ibn Kathir). Besides, believing that souls of the dead can return back to the world and meet with their relatives is itself an incorrect belief. The teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah clearly state that the souls of the dead do not return back to the world. I had explained this subject in details in my previous Sermon. Anyone who wishes to learn more about this subject may refer to it.

As far as visiting the graves is concerned, a weak narration (of Aishah (RA) reported in Sunan at-Tirmidhi (in the book of fasting) is often brought forth to support the visiting of graves on the night of 15th Sha’aban. The Hadith reads as follows:

“One night (i.e. night of mid Sha’aban) I found the Messenger of Allah absent from my apartment. I therefore, went out to search him out and he was in Baqi cemetery raising his head towards the heaven.’ He said, “O Aishah were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger will wrong you?” She said, ‘I replied: I had not such a low opinion about Allah and His Messenger, but I presumed that you had gone to some of your wives for some need.” He said, “Verily, Allah descends in the night of mid-Sha’aban to the heaven of the world and then forgives people more than the number of the hair of the sheep of Banu Kalb.”

A similar Hadith is also found in Sahih Muslim, but it does not mention the night of 15th Sha’aban. However, the Hadith of Sunan at-Tirmidhi is not authentic and thus does not have any proof for visiting graves specifically on the night of Sha’aban.

Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) has permitted the men to visit the graves at any time and make Du’a for the engraved. He (Peace be upon him) said:

“I used to forbid you from visiting graves, but now you should visit them, for surely they are reminders of the next life.” [Sahih Muslim]

And he (Peace be upon him) also taught us the Du’a of visiting graves:

“Peace be upon the Believers and Muslims among the inhabitants of these dwellings. May Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those following us. And we shall, Allah-willing, be joining you.” [Sahih Muslim]

But to specify certain days for visiting graves was neither the practice of Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), nor the Sahabah (RA), therefore, visiting graves specifically on 15th Sha’aban should be avoided, as it falls under the category of innovations (Bid’ahs) and Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said about innovations:

“… and the worst of affairs are the newly invented matters, every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.” [An-Nasa’i]

Many people also light candles on graves, which has no basis from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. In fact, lighting candles is an imitation of the fire worshipers (majus), and Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated that:

“Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) cursed the women who visit the graves. He also cursed those who set up Mosques and lights over graves.” [Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i]

* A Reminder in Sha’aban

Dear Brothers and Sisters! If you still have to make up any missed obligatory fasts of last Ramadan, then hasten to make up them before the next Ramadan arrives. It is not permissible to delay missed fasts until after the following Ramadan, except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between the two Ramadan). Aishah (RA) says:

“It used to be that I had days to make up for Ramadan and I would not be able to do so except in Sha’aban.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Anybody who is able to make up the missed fasts before the (second) Ramadan and does not do so has to make them up after the (second) Ramadan and in addition, he should repent and feed one poor person for each day that was missed. [This is the view of Imams Malik, al-Shafi’i and Ahmad]

* Three great innovations (Bid’ahs) in Sha’aban!!!

The three great Bid’ahs (religious innovations) which some people do in the month of Sha’aban, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Salih al-Uthaymin said:

“I would like to warn against the three things which are done in the middle of Sha’aban: The First issue: Amongst the general mass, there are many people who think that the night of the middle of Sha’aban (i.e. the 15th of Sha’aban) is Lailatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) and that one (who prays in this night) gets the reward that has been mentioned in the Sunnah (i.e. his previous sins would be forgiven).

But what is known is that Lailatul-Qadr occurs in the month of Ramadan and the evidence for that is the saying of Allah in the Qur’an: “Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr.” [al-Qadr, 97:1] And in the saying of Allah: “Ha-Mim. By the manifest Book (this Qur’an) that makes things clear, We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.” [al-Dhukhan, 44:1-4]This is the Text which is clear that the Qur’an was sent down on Lailatul-Qadr, in which matters of ordainment are decreed.

Then Allah also says: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” [al-Baqarah, 2:185] This is sure, clear and certain proof that Lailatul-Qadr occurs in the month of Ramadan, rather it occurs in the last ten (nights) of Ramadan. The Second issue: Some people specially mark this night (of the middle of Sha’aban) by establishing prayers in the night and Fasting in the day, based upon the Weak Ahadith. Since these Ahadith are not authentic, then specially marking out the middle of Sha’aban for establishing night prayers should not be done. But if a person is in the habit of getting up for night prayers, then he should pray in the night of the middle of Sha’aban like he prays in any other night without marking it as a special occasion.

Similarly, one should not make it a special occasion to Fast only in the middle of Sha’aban because nothing such has been reported from the Prophet (Peace be upon him). But if one Fasts for three days of Ayyam al-Bidh (i.e. the night when the Moon is full) and they are the thirteenth, the fourteenth and the fifteenth day (of the Lunar calendar); so if one Fasts on these three days, then his Fasting will be in accordance with the Sunnah.

But one should not believe that this (Fasting these three days in Sha’aban) is better than Fasting in any other month, even though the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to Fast much in this month of Sha’aban, more than any other month, sometimes he would Fast for almost the complete month except for a few days. The Third issue: Some people specially prepare food on the 15th of Sha’aban and invite others over it or they distribute it to the neighbours and relatives believing that there is more virtue if one does it specially on this night.

But I say: The matter is not like (how they perceive). Nothing has been legislated that one should mark this night by specially preparing food or inviting people for food or giving out Sadaqah (charity). It is like any other day, one should prepare food on this day like the way he does on any other day of the year. These are the three Bid’ahs which some people have fallen into, which I wanted to warn against.” [See Majmu’ al-Fatawa of Shaykh Ibn Al-Uthaimin, vol. 7 page 279-281]

Dear Servants of Allah! I’m reminding myself and my Muslim brothers and sisters, especially the Nigerian Muslim Ummah that it is only the Amirul Mu’mineen, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III has the right to make an announcement for the commencement and finishing the Ramadan fast. It is a great innovation (Bid’ah) in Islam for any Islamic scholar or any leader of any organization, sect or group to do so. We have to fear Allah, we must avoid making contributions in disuniting the Ummah.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Friday Sermon, and I ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 10, 1439 AH (April 27, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: Prince Salman Can’t Stop Makkah, Madinah From Being The Most Sacred Places In Islam, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! When a person contemplates the state of people who are trapped in forbidden lusts and those who pursue the satisfaction of their instincts and desires, you will find that they share a common factor, which is evident in their every movement and moment of repose, and which is reflected in their facial features: a weak connection with Allah.

How can a heart which is connected to Allah, a heart that knows Him and has tasted the pleasure of being close to Him, find pleasure or comfort in hating, attacking and insulting Makkah and Madinah, the sacred places loved by Allah and His Messenger, because of some activities of the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammed Bin Salman Al Saud? Thus, everyone who has fallen into one of the sins related to following desires, or returned to it after repentance and abandoning it, has been dragged to this state due to the weakness of his faith. Weak faith facilitates the way to his soul which is a persistent enjoiner of evil, as well as to the accursed Shaytan, and thus he was trapped in the swamps of worshiping his desire after being firm for a long time in the gardens of faith.

Sincere faith in Allah is the shield against falling into prohibitions, second only, of course, to the guidance of Allah.

Thus, when faith inhabits the heart, dominates the feelings, and flows to the organs to lead them to the pleasure of Allah, the person will not dare to think of committing an act of disobedience. The eye will not dare to look at what is prohibited, nor will any part of the body dare to disobey the commands of Allah. Building faith in the heart is not easy; however, the one who insists on knocking on the door will be let in eventually.

Respected Servants of Allah! This is a modest attempt to help you on your way to strong faith, which destroys the desire that may have humiliated you and caused you to suffer one calamity after another. Please my dear friend, I advise you, don’t be among those who have evil intentions about Makkah and Madinah. They are the places loved by Allah the Almighty and His Messenger (Peace be upon him).

My people! If you can remember, the crown prince Muhammed Bin Salman Al Saud (MBS) has called for more entertainment options in the kingdom for both families and youth. His cabinet passed regulation to reduce the power of the religious police and religious leaders, and an entertainment authority was established in May 2016.

In his attempt to override Islamic tradition, he engaged younger Saudi Muslim scholars who are active on social media and better known among Saudi youth, as opposed to the kingdom’s council of senior scholars who set official religious policy and often release religious opinions.

In December 2017, he lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas and allow films to be screened as early as next year.

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information approved licences for those wishing to open cinemas in the kingdom.

Awwad bin Saleh al-Awwad, the Saudi culture minister, confirmed the report in a statement as reported.

Saudi Arabia placed a complete ban on cinemas in the early 1980s. Now the first cinemas are expected to open in March 2018.

The decision to reopen comes amid a series of reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud as part of the so-called government’s Vision 2030 plan to revitalise and diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.

Dear Servants of Allah! Shaikh Muhammad Salih Ibn Uthaimin (rahimahullah) said:

“There is not in the world a land that is sacred except these two Sacred Sites: The Haram of Makkah, and the Haram of Madinah. As for what is said by some: “Haram of Al-Aqsa” and “Ibrahim’s Haram”, then this is not correct and has no evidence to support it.”
[See Ash-Sharh al-Mumti, vol. 7 page 215]

From the places of virtue that Allah has extolled and mentioned their excellence to the exclusion of others is the city of Makkah: the place of safety and security, the place where revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) began, and from where he was appointed as the Messenger to mankind. It is the city which Allah swears by in the Qur’an:

“I swear by this city, Makkah – And you, [O Muhammad], are free of restriction in this city.” [Surah Al-Balad: 1-2]

Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) said:

“This is an oath of Allah (the Most High) by Makkah “Umm al-Qura” (the mother of all towns), due to the fact that living in it puts one in a state that indicates the greatness of the city itself wherein the people are in a state of Ihram, living in a sanctity. Allah sated:

“And by this city of security (Makkah).” [Surah At-Tin: 3]

* Narrations That Show The Excellence Of Makkah And Its Sacredness:

1. Within Makkah is the Ancient House (Al-Bayt Al-Atiq) for the worship of Allah alone. It was the first place of monotheistic worship built for mankind. Allah sated:

“Verily, the first House of worship appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for all of creation.”
[Surah Ali Imran: 96]

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report in the two Sahih collections from Abu Zar (RA) that he said:

“I asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) regarding the first Masjid that was made in the world?” So he said: “The Masjid al-Haram.” I asked: “Then which one after that?” He said: “Masjid al-Aqsa.” I asked: “What was the time period between them?” He replied: “Forty years.”

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:

“This hadith is difficult to comprehend for those who do not know its intent, a person may say: “It is known that Prophet Sulaiman Ibn Dawud (AS) was the one who built Masjid al-Aqsa and there was between him and Ibrahim over a thousand year gap.” So this shows the ignorance of such a person. That is because Sulaiman (AS) merely rebuilt and renovated the Masjid al-Aqsa – he did not establish it or build it in the first place. Rather the one who originally built it was Ya’qub Ibn Is-haq (AS), and that was after Ibrahim (AS) built the Ka’abah at Makkah.” [See Zad al-Ma’ad, vol. 1 page 50]

2. Allah made it a Haram (a sanctity) wherein it is not permitted to shed blood; not permitted to cut a tree; not permitted to chase or scare game animals; not permitted to cut shrubs; it is not permitted to pick up a lost item not belonging to you except with the intent of announcing that one has found it, seeking its owner.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim reported in the two Sahihs from the Hadith of Abu Shuraih (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah made Makkah a sanctity and it was not the people who did that. So it is not permitted for a person who believes in Allah and the Last Day to spill blood therein [i.e. kill another person] or to cut down a tree. If anybody argues that fighting is allowed in Makkah as Allah’s Messenger did fight in Makkah. Tell them that Allah gave permission to His Messenger, but He did not give it to you. Allah allowed it for me only for a few hours on that one day [of the conquest] – and today its sanctity is the same as it was before. So let the one who is present convey that to the one who is absent.”

3. That which is narrated concerning the virtue of praying in the Masjid al-Haram.

Imam Ahmad reported with an authentic chain of narration in his Musnad from the Hadith of Jabir (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The prayer in this Masjid of mine [in Madinah] is more excellent than a 1000 prayers in any other place except for the Masjid al-Haram [in Makkah], for the prayer in the Masjid al-Haram is 100,000 times more excellent.”

The people of knowledge have looked into whether this manifold increase in virtue applies to the whole of the sacred area (al-Haram) or only the Masjid al-Haram surrounding the Ka’abah.

The first issue is: The Hadith previously mentioned stated: “The prayer in the Masjid al-Haram is 100,000 times more excellent.” The texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah which mention “Al-Masjid Al-Haram” intend by its usage the whole of the Haram area. For example the saying of Allah the Most High:

“This is for him whose family is not present at Al-Masjid al-Haram (i.e. non-resident of Makkah)..” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:196]

And His saying:

“Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him, Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem).” [Surah Al-Isra: 1]

On that night he was taken from the house of the Companion Umm Hani (RA), yet Allah still referred to it as “Al-Masjid Al-Haram”, i.e. that the term refers to the sacred area and not only to the Mosque. There are also proofs from the Sunnah: When the Messenger (Peace be upon him) was at Al-Hudaibiyah (a place between Makkah and Madinah), and it was time to pray, he entered the Haram (Sacred) area and prayed. [Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, with a good chain of narration].

The second issue is that there are narrations from the Salaf (Pious predecessors) that show that the reward of all of the deeds is multiplied in the area of the Haram, acting in that regard upon the saying of Allah the Most High:

“And whoever inclines to evil actions therein (in the Haram area) or to do wrong, him We shall cause to taste a painful torment.” [Surah Al-Hajj: 25]

The tremendous nature of the sacredness of the Haram and the strong forbiddance of committing evil indicates likewise its immense virtue for the one doing righteous actions. And the affair has a detailed study connected to it.

4. Allah has informed us that Makkah is Umm al-Qura as occurs in His saying:

“And thus We have inspired unto you (O Muhammad) a Quran in Arabic that you may warn the Mother of the Towns (Makkah) and all those around it.” [Surah Ash-Shura: 7]

So in Islam, all the towns, villages, cities and countries follow on from it and are branches of it.

5. It is the Qiblah (direction of prayer) for all the people of the earth, and there is no Qiblah in the world besides it. Allah said:

“And from wherever you go out [for prayer], turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram.” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:150]

Bukhari and Muslim reported in the two Sahihs from the Hadith of Usamah Ibn Zaid and Ibn Abbas (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) exited his house and offered two raka’ahs in prayer facing the Ka’abah, and then said: “This is the Qiblah.”

6. There is safety for the one who enters the Haram. Allah said:

“…whosoever enters it, he attains security. [Surah Ali Imran: 97]

So this is either informing us of the reality of the affair alongside the impossibility of there being any contradiction in the sayings of Allah. Or it is information regarding the legislation (Shari’ah) of Allah and His Religion concerning its sacredness. Or it is informing us of an affair and a covenant that is continuous concerning its sacredness in the times of pre-Islamic ignorance (Jahiliyyah) through to Islam, just as Allah has said:

“Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a sanctuary secure, and that men are being snatched away from all around them? Then do they believe in falsehood, and deny (become ingrate for) the Graces of Allah?” [Surah Al-Ankabut, 67]

“And they say: “If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.” Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah), to which are brought fruits of all kinds…” [Surah Al-Qasas: 57] [See Zad al-Ma’ad, vol. 3 page 445]

7. That it is forbidden to face it and turn one’s back to it whilst relieving oneself.

Bukhari and Muslim report from the Hadith of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“When you defecate, do not face the Qiblah, and do not turn your back to it – neither when defecating nor when urinating. Rather turn to the East or the West.”

8. Allah chose it for the Rites of Hajj, and he made travelling to it an act of worship – for which a person is raised in rank and his sins are wiped away, as there occurs in Bukhari and Muslim from the Hadith of Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever performs Hajj for Allah alone and keeps away from sexual acts and from sin, he return home like it was the day that his mother gave birth to him.”

9. Makkah is the best place on earth and the most beloved to Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him).

At-Tirmidhi authentically reports in his Sunan from Abdullah Ibn Adiy (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said whilst addressing Makkah:

“By Allah! You are best of the lands of Allah, and the best land of Allah to Allah! And were it not for the fact that I was expelled from you, I would never have left you.”

Tirmidhi also reports from Ibn Abbas (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said to the land of Makkah:

“There is no finer place than you, no place more beloved to me! And were it not for the fact that your people expelled me from you, I would not have lived elsewhere.”

11. It is the place from where Allah took His Prophet into the Heavens on the night of the Journey. Allah the Most High said:

“Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him who took His slave for a journey by night from Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our signs. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Surah Al-Isra: 1]

12. It is not permitted to embark upon a religious journey except to three Mosques, the Masjid al-Haram being one of them.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not embark upon a [religious] journey except to three Mosques: Al-Masjid Al-Haram (Makkah), the Mosque of the Messenger (in Madinah) and the Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem).”

13. Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, connected the Sacred House in Makkah to Himself specifically:

“…and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf…” [Surah Al-Hajj: 27]

This connection is particular and specific due to the sacredness that Allah has endowed the Ka’abah with, and the honour He has given to Makkah, and His love for it. This singularly is sufficient honour for this city and the Grand Mosque.

14. Allah has attached the hearts of people to His Sacred House, the Grand Mosque. He made it a place of constant returning for them:

“And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security…” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 125]

It is such that the heart keeps desiring to return to it over and over. And as the centuries have gone by, the numbers desiring to visit it has only increased. And the more one visits it, the more one is pulled by his soul to visit it again.

Look at how the people spend their halal wealth, leave behind their businesses, their homes and families because their hearts are drawn to this blessed place. They care not what it costs, because the visitation of the House of Allah for Hajj and Umrah only wipes away poverty and sins just as the furnace purifies gold, silver and iron from its impurities.

May Allah the Most Generous, the Compassionate continue to give us the opportunity to love, respect and visit the Masjid al-Haram for the purpose of worshipping Him alone and earning His reward. Ameen.

* The Virtues Of Madinah

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Indeed the Madinah of Allah’s Messenger is the most pleasant of places, it is Taybah, it is the returning place and sanctuary of Iman, it is the home of the Muhajirun and the Ansar, it is the place where the trustworthy Angel Jibril descended upon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with the Revelation (Wahy).

Allah has honoured the blessed city of Madinah, He has given it excellence over all of the cities after Makkah. There are many narrations that mention its excellence, its virtues, its sanctity and its status – and how the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) would supplicate for it and inform his Companions regarding it.

* From Its Virtues:

1. Allah, the Most High, made it a sacred sanctuary.

Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“O Allah! Indeed Ibrahim designated Makkah sacred and made it a sanctuary. I declare Madinah sacred – the area between its two mountains is a sanctuary. No blood is to be shed therein, and no weapon is to be carried therein for the purpose of fighting – and the leaves are not to be shaken from their trees, except for fodder.”

The sanctity of Madinah runs between the two lava plains from east to west, and between Mount Ayr (to the south) to Mount Thawr (to the north).

Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih from Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Madinah is sacred and a sanctuary between Ayr and Thawr, so whoever introduces an innovation or gives refuge to an innovator, then upon him is the curse of Allah, the Angels and the whole of mankind.”

And from Abu Hurayrah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whatever is between its two lava plains is a sanctuary.”

The lava plains refers to the place where there are black rocks in the east and west of the city.

2. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) named the city as Taibah and Tabah.

Imam Muslim reports from Fatimah Bint Qays (RA) in the Hadith of Al-Jassasah wherein the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“This is Taibah, this is Taibah, meaning al-Madinah.”

And in the narration of Al-Bukhari:

“This is Tabah.”

Imam Ibn Hajr stated that it is said by the scholars that it (i.e. Taibah and Tabah) means that its soil is fine, and its air is good – indeed there emanates from its soil and walls a pleasant fragrance that is not found elsewhere. [See Fathul-Bari, vol. 4 page 89]

3. Iman (Faith) will return and gather back into Madinah.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Surely Iman will return to Madinah just as a snake returns back to its hole.”

4. The one who bears some of the harsh and difficult conditions of Madinah, then such a person is promised a tremendous reward.

Imam Muslim reports from Abu Sa’id, the freed slave of Al-Mahri, that he experienced distress and hardship in Madinah as well as high prices. So he came to Abu Sa’id al-Khudri and he said to him: “I have many dependants and we are feeling the hardships, so I wish to move my family to a rural farming area.” Abu Sa’id said: Woe to you! I advise you not to do that. I heard Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) say:

“No one bears its hardships with patience and then dies except that I will be an intercessor for him (or a witness) on the Day of Resurrection so long as he was a Muslim.”

Also in Sahih Muslim from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“A time will come when a man will call to his paternal cousin and his relatives saying: ‘Come to a life of ease! Come to a life of ease!’ But Madinah is better for them, if only they but knew! By the One in whose Hand is my soul, no one departs from Madinah out of dislike for it except that Allah will replace him with one who is better than him.”

The scholars such as Imam Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) explained that living in Madinah is better for them because the Messenger made it a sacred sanctuary, and it is the place of Revelation, a place where blessings descend – so if only they knew what it means to settle in Madinah due to its religious benefits that are underestimated by people in exchange for immediate hidden good fortune that is found by living in other cities.

5. Al-Bukhari and Muslim report that Abu Hurairah (RA) said that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stated:

“I have been commanded to go to a town which supersedes all other towns. They say: ‘It is [called] Yathrib’ but it is Madinah. It purifies the people just as the bellows eliminate the impurities of iron.”

The scholars such as Imam Al-Baghawi in Sharhus-Sunnah have stated that it supersedes [or consumes] means that Allah will aid Islam by way of the people of Madinah and that the townships are conquered by them and the bounties are brought back and consumed by them.

6. From the virtues of Madinah is the supplication of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for it to be blessed.

Imam Muslim reports from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“O Allah, bless us in our Madinah. O Allah, bless us in our Sa’i (a measure of four cupped handfuls). O Allah, bless us in our Mudd (a measure of single cupped handful). And to each blessing add two more. By the One in whose Hand is my soul, there is no mountain pass nor road around Madinah but there are two Angels standing guard over it until you return back to it.”

7. Neither plague nor the Dajjal will enter Madinah.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“On the roads into Madinah there are Angels so that neither plague nor the Dajjal can enter it.”

8. In Madinah there is the Prophet’s Masjid – it is from those Mosques to which one is permitted to travel for religious purpose.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“No journey should be undertaken to visit any Masjid except three: The Masjid Al-Haram [in Makkah], this Masjid of mine, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.”

Prayer in the Prophet’s Mosque receives a manifold increase in reward.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The prayer in this Masjid of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other Masjid except for the Masjid Al-Haram [in Makkah].”

9. In Madinah there is Masjid Qubah and praying in it equates to an Umrah!

Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) narrated in his Musnad from Sahl Ibn Hanif that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever leaves out until he reaches this Masjid, meaning Masjid Qubah, and he prayers inside it, then it is like performing an Umrah.”

10. In the Prophet’s Masjid there is the honourable Garden (Ar-Rawdah).

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whatever is between my house and my pulpit is a garden from the Gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is over my lake.”

Imam Ibn Hajr stated that this is yet another encouragement to live in Madinah – and his (Peace be upon him) saying: “A garden from the Gardens of Paradise” means that there descends upon it mercy, and happiness, and if one was to pray there it is as if he has prayed in a Garden of Paradise. Or it could mean that it is a real garden that will be transferred in the Hereafter into Paradise.

11. In Madinah there is the Mountain of Uhud.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Abu Humaid (RA) that he said: We returned with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from the Battle of Tabuk until we reached Madinah, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“This is Tabah and this is Uhud – It is a mountain that loves us, and we love it.”

12. There is in Madinah the Valley of Al-Aqiq.

Imam Bukhari reports from Umar Ibn al-Khattab (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Tonight there came to me a messenger Angel from my Lord. He said: ‘Pray in this blessed valley, and say: Umratan fi Hajjatin (i.e. the talbiyah for Umrah and Hajj).’”

13. From Madinah we get the blessed Ajwah date.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Sa’id that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever eats seven Ajwah dates in the morning, then he will not be harmed by poison or magic on that day.”

14. Madinah purifies itself from filth.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Jabir Ibn Abdillah that a Bedouin pledged allegiance to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) then the Bedouin suffered a severe fever in Madinah. He came to the Prophet and said: “O Muhammad cancel my oath of allegiance.” But the Prophet refused. He went away, came back and repeated his request and the Prophet refused again. He did that three or four times. After that the Bedouin himself left Madinah on his own accord. So the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Madinah is like bellows, it eliminates its filth and impurities and it purifies what is good.”

15. Whoever wishes harm and evil upon the people of Madinah, Allah will destroys him.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report from Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever intends to do harm [or wishes ill] to the people of Madinah, Allah will cause him to melt like salt dissolving in water.”

And in a narration of Imam Muslim:

“…except that Allah will melt him in the Fire like lead, or like salt dissolving in water.”

And in a narration reported by Imam Ahmad in the Musnad:

“Whoever scares the people of Madinah oppressively, then Allah scares him – upon him is the curse of Allah, the Angels and all of humankind – and on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not accept from him any payment nor compensation.”

16. Our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) lived there and died there as did many of his wives and Companions. Buried next to him in the residence of Aishah (RA) are his two closest and trusted Companions, the two Caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar (RA). It is NOT legislated for anyone to embark upon a journey to only visit the graves of Prophets nor the righteous – this is proven by the Hadith already stated above:

“No journey should be undertaken to visit any Masjid except three: The Masjid Al-Haram [in Makkah], this Masjid of mine, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.”

And visiting the Prophet’s Mosque is not from the obligations of Hajj or Umrah. However, if one is in Madinah, then it is legislated to attend the funerals and to visit the graveyards so that one is reminded of death and may supplicate for the deceased. In this regard, one may also visit the grave of the Prophet and his two Companions to give them salutations, just as Ibn Umar (RA) would do:

“Assalamu alaika Ya Rasulallah. Assalamu alaika Ya Aba Bakr. Assalamu alaika Ya Abati (O my father).”

Then he would leave.

So a visitor today would say:

“Assalamu alaika Ya Rasulallah. Assalamu alaika Ya Aba Bakr. Assalamu alaika Ya Umar.”

And leave without lingering.

[See Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah of Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin]

Again Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin (rahimahullah) said:

“It is not allowed to stand for a long time in front of the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) making Du’a (supplication) or at the graves of his two Companions. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) used to hate for that to done saying: ‘It is a bid’ah that was not practiced by the Salaf – and the latter part of this Ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectified its first part.’” [See Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah of Ibn Uthaimin, page 144]

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said:

“Imam Malik would hate for the the people of Madinah that every time anyone entered the Prophet’s Mosque that he would go to the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), because the Salaf would not do that. Rather they would come to the Masjid and they would pray in it behind Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (RA) – and each would utter in his prayer (in the Tashahhud): Assalamu alaika ayyuhan-Nabiyy wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,’ (i.e. peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings). Then once the prayer had finished, they would stand or leave – and they would not head to the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to give him salutations of Salam. This was due to their knowledge that the salutations, peace, the mention and prayers upon him in their Daily Prayer [in the tashahhud] was better and more excellent.” [See Manasik al-Hajj wal-Umrah of Ibn Uthaimin, page 144]

And if that is the case with the Salam and Salutations, then how much greater in travesty and calamity is the case of the one who stands by the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) holding conversations with him, seeking his assistance and his succour!Seeking help, rescue, cure and other such matters from the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is major polytheism (shirk) that exits one from the fold of Islam. Wal iyazu billah!

It is also not permitted to go to any grave and supplicate to Allah for one’s own needs thinking that being in the presence of a grave is a nearness to Allah [even if it be the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)] making it more likely for his supplication being accepted.
As for the oft-quoted fables and “Hadith” such as:

1. “Whoever performs Hajj and does not visit me, then verily he has shunned me.” Then this Hadith is weak at best, though in reality it is fabricated and a lie. In it there are narrators who are very weak, and others unknown as stated by Ad-Daruqutni, Al-Bazzar and Al-Bayhaqi. [See Fatawa tata’alaq bi-Ahkamil-Hajj wal-Umrah waz-Ziyarah min Ijabah of Shaykh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah), page 147-149]

2. “Whoever visits me after my death, it is as if he has visited me during my lifetime.” [Collected by Ad-Daruqutni, Abu Ya’ala in his Musnad, and Ibn Adiy in Al-Kamil] There is in the chain of narration weak and unknown narrators. So the narration cannot be attributed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). [See Fatawa tata’alaq bi-Ahkamil-Hajj wal-Umrah waz-Ziyarah min Ijabah of Shaykh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah), page 147-149]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself forbade rituals and ceremonies at his grave saying in an authentic Hadith:

“Do not take my grave as a place of rituals or festivities, neither turn your homes into graves. And send upon me your Salutations of Salam, for it will be carried to me from wherever you may be.” [Reported by Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahid al-Maqdisi in Al-Mukhtarah]

As for the Hadith:

“Whoever prays forty prayers [in the Prophet’s Mosque] then freedom from Hellfire will be written for him and freedom from hypocrisy.”

Shaykh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah) said:

“This narration is weak as far the scholars of Hadith verification have stated, and thus it cannot be used as a proof or relied upon.”

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Sermon and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 3, 1439 AH (April 20, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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The Descriptions Of Real Men In Islam And Christianity, By Imam Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Cherisher and Nourisher (Rabb) of the entire universe; the felicity of the hereafter is for those who fear Him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He is without partner, the object of worship of all the fore-runners and those gone-by. He maintains and administers the heavens and  earth.

I further bear testimony to the fact that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Messenger, His beloved and the custodian of His Revelation. Almighty Allah had sent him as the Messenger of good tidings and warner to all of humanity. He has been sent as the caller towards Allah, a shining and bright lamp shedding light. Allah’s blessings be upon His Messenger (Peace be upon him), his progeny, his Companions, who followed him in his mission of inviting the people towards Allah, remained steadfast therein, and offered sacrifices for the same, till Allah, the Almighty gave supremacy to His religion through them and gave eminence to His Kalimah – in spite of the disliking of the polytheists. Countless salutations – Peace and blessings be upon the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him).

* The Real Men In Islam

Dear Brothers and Sisters! With a variety of modern ideologies, philosophies, and religions competing to define what it means to be a ‘man,’ it is ever more critically important for Muslim men to understand masculinity as it was understood by the righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih). Unlike theories of masculinity that promote the ‘alpha male’ as dominating other men and women, masculinity in Islam is for a man to fulfill the good character traits and dignified manners taught by the religion as a whole.

Dear Servants of Allah! A true Muslim man is just, kind, compassionate, forgiving, responsible, hard-working, humble, patient, forbearing, truthful, trustworthy, courageous, soft-hearted, honouring women, controlling his lower desires and impulses, fulfilling the needs of others before himself, continually refining his intellect, improving his character, seeking knowledge as a life-long learner, avoiding undignified behaviour and sinful deeds, and emulating the character of Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his righteous followers to the best of his ability.

The Islamic concept of masculinity, manhood, or ‘manliness’ (al-muru’ah) can be summarized by the broad ethical injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah. Ibn Marzuban reported that:

“Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, passed by some people who were talking. Ali said, “What are you doing?” They said, “We are discussing manhood.” Then Ali said: Has not Allah Almighty sufficed you in His book wherein He said, ‘Verily, Allah commands justice and excellence,’ (Quran, 16:90)? Justice is to have a sense of fairness and excellence is to prefer others to yourself. What remains of manhood after this?” [See al-Muru’ah, vol. 1 page 97]

Men ought to view themselves as composed of a mind, body, and soul, and to consistently work to improve each dimension of their being, especially their inner-character. Imam Al-Mawardi reported that:

“Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The foundation of a man is his intellect, his honour is in his religion, and his manhood is in his character.” [See Adab al-Dunya wad-Din, page 17]

The righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih) understood manhood to be comprehensive of all religious virtues in Islam. Amru Ibn Ubayd reported that:

“It was said to Hasan al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, “What is manhood?” Hasan said: It is the religion.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 64]

And Hasan said:

“Verily, there is no religion for one without manhood.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 19]

Ibn Marzuban devoted an entire book to manhood, in which he compiled and documented the sayings of the righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih) on the meaning of being a man. The many shades of meaning they attributed to the word ‘manhood’ in classical Arabic are summarized in Lane’s Lexicon as follows:

“Manly perfection, consisting in abstinence from things unlawful, or in chastity of manners, and having some art or trade, or in abstaining from doing secretly what one would be ashamed to do openly, or in the habit of doing what is approved, and shunning what is held base, or in preserving the soul from filthy actions, and what disgraces it in the estimation of men, or in good manners, and guarding the tongue, and shunning impudence, or in a quality of the mind by preserving which a man is made to preserve in good manners and habits, or manly virtue or moral goodness.” [See Lane’s Lexicon vol. 2 page 2702]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! One of the most important characteristics of a true Muslim man is the ability to forgive others even when the opportunity for revenge is available. This quality of compassion stands diametrically opposed to false belief of the ‘alpha male’ as domineering and vengeful. Ibn Marzuban reported that:

“It was said to Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah, may Allah have mercy on him, “All things are derived from the Quran, so where is manhood in it?” Sufyan said: In the saying of Allah Almighty, ‘Show forgiveness, enjoin good, and turn away from the ignorant,’ (Quran, 7:199). In this is manhood.” [See al-Muru’ah, vol. 1 page 133]

Al-Mada’ini reported that:

“It was said to Ahnaf Ibn Qais, may Allah have mercy on him, “What is manhood?” Ahnaf said: Forbearance at a time of anger and forgiveness at a time of power.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 64]

Abdullah Ibn Shumait reported that:

“Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani, may Allah have mercy on him, said: A man will not hit the mark, nor fulfill his manhood, until he has two characteristics: Forgiving people and overlooking their faults.” [See al-Muru’ah, page 106]

Respected Servants of Allah! A true Muslim man should be kind towards people and love for them the same as he loves for himself. He should give off a friendly and non-threatening aura, while also putting the needs of others over himself. Ahmad Ibn Jamil reported that:

“Muhammad Ibn al-Nadr, may Allah have mercy on him, said: The first part of manhood is a cheerful face. The second part is loving kindness to people. The third part is fulfilling the needs of others.” [See al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir al-‘Ilm, page 828]

In contrast, it is not the characteristic of a true Muslim man to put on a show of bravado to others, as if the sign of a man were his ability to incite fear and project strength. Rather, a real man is known by the measure of his trustworthiness and his refrain from hurting others; in a word, his virtue. Ibn Al-Mubarak reported that:

“Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: Do not let yourselves be impressed by the roar of a man. Rather, if he fulfills the trust and restrains himself from harming the honour of people, then he will truly be a man.” [See al-Zuhd wal-Raqa’iq, page 681]

A true Muslim man does not allow himself to be dragged into the gutter of insults, mockery, and bitter arguments. It is the beneath the dignity of a believer to put down or make fun of others, as this contradicts the spirit of goodwill he should have. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The believer does not taunt others, he does not curse others, he does not use profanity, and he does not abuse others.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Ibn Abi Dunya reported that:

“Sa’id Ibn al-As, may Allah have mercy on him, said: I have not insulted a man ever since I became a man.” [See al-Hilm of Ibn Abi Dunya, page 119]

Moreover, in Islam, the authentic sign of strength is the ability to control one’s desires and impulses, especially anger. A man who cannot control himself is spiritually weak, even if he has the largest muscles of all. Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The strong are not the best wrestlers. Verily, the strong are only those who control themselves when they are angry.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Abu Nu’aim reported that:

“Sufyan al-Thawri, may Allah have mercy on him, said: A woman will pass by a man and he cannot restrain himself from looking at her lustfully although there is no benefit in it. What could be weaker than this?” [See Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 7 page 68]

Mansur Ibn Abdullah reported that:

“Al-Kattani, may Allah have mercy on him, said: The truly weak man is he who is too weak to manage and control himself.” [See Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 54 page 254]

It is good to have a healthy, strong body, but some men are naturally more muscular than others. This blessing they have not earned has no bearing on their value to Allah the Almighty.

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, was one such Companion who had a smaller build than most men, yet he was absolutely huge in terms of his muru’ah, knowledge, righteousness, and service to Islam. Ibn Mas’ud reported that:

“He was harvesting toothsticks from an Arak tree and he had tiny shins. The wind blew and made him fall over, so people laughed at him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: What are you laughing at? They said, “O Prophet of Allah, at his tiny shins.” The Prophet said: By the one in whose hand is my soul, they will both be heavier on the Scale than the mountain of Uhud.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

A true Muslim man might have a smaller build than most men, but still be better to Allah than most men. For this reason and many others, a real man should never make fun of another’s natural, physical appearance.

A true Muslim man is likewise chivalrous and honourable towards the women in his life: his mother, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins, sisters in Islam, and women in general. He will not incite people to kill their husbands and their children. The measure of a man’s character is directly related to how he treats women. Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The most complete of the believers in faith are those with the most excellent character, and the best of you are the best in behaviour to their women.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Abdullah Ibn Amr reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: The best of you are the best to their women.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

It is not the characteristic of true men to ‘dominate’ women, abduct them, degrade them, kill their husbands and children, exploit them, or brag about their sexual ‘conquests.’ In fact, it is precisely the opposite; a real man protects women who are vulnerable to abuse and injustice. Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: O Allah, I have issued a warning in regards to the rights of two vulnerable groups: orphans and women.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

This is most apparent within the marriage relationship, which should be based upon love, mercy, and partnership. The worst men are those who mistreat their wives by finagling the law to circumvent its ethical underpinnings. Though a scholar might hold an opinion that a husband’s misbehaviour is ‘legal’ in the sense it carries no legal consequences, it is nevertheless corrupt, immoral, sinful, and unmanly. Raja’a reported that:

“Dawud Ibn Abi Hind, may Allah have mercy on him, said: I sat with the learned jurists (Fuqaha) and I found my religion with them. I sat with the preachers and I found softness in my heart. I sat with the elders of people and I found manhood among them. I sat with the worst of people and I found that one of them would divorce his wife for an offense that does not even amount to a hair.” [See al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir al-‘Ilm, page 458]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! A true Muslim man is characterized by a balance of all of the virtues taught by Islam: justice, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, humility, patience, truthfulness, courage, responsibility, chivalry, and so on. The concept of the ‘alpha male’ as domineering, aggressive, vengeful, thuggish, and ‘strong’ is a false and toxic belief that encourages misbehaviour in general and the mistreatment of women, in particular. On the contrary, truly strong men are those capable of controlling themselves and traversing the higher, straight path of virtue in opposition to the animalistic tendencies of the human soul.

* The Real Men In Christianity

My Respected people! In popular media, men are often portrayed as dense, selfish, arrogant, sexually immoral and at least potentially violent. A man who acts the way society thinks he should, particularly toward women, is often referred to as a “real man” or a “man’s man.”

Sadly, this popular image of “real” manliness is based on misinformation and bad assumptions. God, the designer of human beings, sees things differently than society does.

“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature … For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7]

Looking at the heart is a concept lost on much of modern culture. It’s much easier to use only what we see as the basis for our opinions and actions.

My people! What does the Bible actually say about being a real man? If we look closely, we can find three keys to true masculinity to help us understand how men should treat women and others in general as Christianity taught.

– In Christianity, Real Men Respect Everyone

To respect something is to consider it “worthy of high regard.” This is exactly the attitude that God says men should have toward women. That means all women, by the way, not just those we consider physically attractive.

To Christians, Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this behaviour. His followers taught that husbands ought to love their wives “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”— and that husbands should “love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” [Ephesians 5:25 , 28]

True love is based on fundamental respect. Wives, in turn, are told to respect their husbands. Clearly, this is meant to be a mutual respect, a reaction to the respect her husband is already showing her.

Ultimately, though, God wants us to treat everyone with an outgoing, unselfish concern and deep respect for their well-being.

– In Christianity, Real Men Protect Everyone

To protect is to shield someone from exposure, from injury or destruction. A man who respects others will act to protect not just himself but others as well from various forms of exposure and injury.

Consider the biblical story of Ruth. A young Moabite woman, she was the daughter-in-law of Elimelech and Naomi, an Israelite couple who fled to Moab (in the area of modern-day Jordan) to escape a terrible famine in Israel. In the course of time Elimelech and his two sons died. Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, were left alone with no support system.

Naomi decided to return to her homeland, and Ruth courageously went with her, even though she would be leaving her native Moab to live as a foreigner in Israel. Her future was incredibly uncertain, and she was extremely vulnerable. Enter Boaz.

Boaz was a wealthy and noble man of high social standing. He was just the kind of man who could have ignored two struggling widows, especially one who was a foreigner. But Boaz was a man of godly character who exercised his duty to protect those who are weak and were at risk. He personally saw to it that their basic needs were met. He kept watch over Ruth as she worked to help, support her mother-in-law. As the near relative of her deceased husband, Boaz chose to marry Ruth and assume the provision and protection for her and aging Naomi.

Life provides many, many opportunities to serve others by protecting them or their interests. Ultimately, God wants Christians to demonstrate His character by being willing to protect anyone —especially the most defenseless among the society.

– In Christianity, Real Men Take Responsibility

Many today would rather talk about their “rights” than their obligations and duties, but there has never been a greater need for men who are willing to take responsibility for their actions.

Real men do not take a woman’s most precious gifts (her heart, mind and body) without having committed through marriage to keep them forever. Engaging in physical intimacy with a woman before marriage is stealing. It is taking something that is not yours, which is an irresponsible failure to respect or protect the woman —and it is a sin, a violation of God’s law.

A real man doesn’t use excuses about being caught up in the passion of the moment and not being able to resist temptation. That story doesn’t carry much weight with God. It is possible to resist!

A man who takes responsibility for his actions has the wisdom to anticipate compromising situations and think proactively about how to avoid them. Translation: vertical thinking men avoid being alone in intimate circumstances with a woman before marriage! The book of Proverbs puts it this way:

“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.” [27:12]

– Becoming A Real Man

There are many situations in life where we can do the right thing only by taking responsibility for our own actions. Ultimately, God wants Christians to demonstrate His character by being willing to take responsibility for everything they do, protect those in need and deeply respect women.

Never miss an opportunity to practice these three key concepts of true manliness. You can avoid the trap of false masculinity and its negative consequences by shouldering your responsibility to protect and respect so that in the end you will truly, in God’s eyes, be a real man.

– Three (3) Characteristics That Define A Real Man

Society today is confused about masculinity. Looking back thousands of years, what lessons of masculinity can we learn from the most important Man to ever walk the earth according to Christians?

Today’s society is in confusion on the subject of manhood and masculinity. Multiple definitions exist of what exactly masculinity is— from John Wayne to Homer Simpson — and some people question whether there should even be such a thing as masculinity. Modern psychology has introduced the idea that gender traits are nothing but a social construct.

The influence of the homosexual lifestyle, mainstream media and the fashion industry has promoted an effeminate standard for males. From wearing longer hair to an inordinate focus on fashion and style — many have wondered if traditional manhood and masculinity are gone.

In Christianity, today’s human ideas about masculinity and manhood are a far cry from the example Christ set in the flesh for all humanity, including males, to follow. But the Bible states:

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” [1 Peter 2:21]

Yes, Jesus Christ came to earth as a male human and therefore is the standard of masculinity that every Christian male should strive to be. This article will look at three ways Jesus Christ set an example for proper masculinity:

1. Christ didn’t crack under pressure and discomfort

The fourth chapter of Luke recounts Christ’s 40 days of fasting and temptation by the devil in the wilderness. Despite being offered literally all that the world has to give (Luke 4:5), Christ stayed strong and showed the devil he was wasting his time.

Christ showed the same strength as He faced the prospect of a torturous death of pain and agony. Though He experienced anxiety because of the extreme pain He was facing, Christ had the strength and willpower to move forward and say:

“Not as I will, but as You will.” [Matthew 26:39]

Men must have this resolve — this commitment to do what is right no matter what the temptation or danger. Masculinity, in its purest godly form, is this unbreakable will to obey God and lead in what is right, regardless of the cost in comfort or popularity.

Implications for men today: Compromising what is right is simply not an option. We must be convicted in what we believe and exercise the strength of character to make right decisions based on our beliefs. This world desperately needs men (and women!) of conviction who will not compromise what is right and will uphold high standards of conduct.

2. Christ worked hard and always did what was necessary

Even at an early age, Christ told His parents:

“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” [Luke 2:49]

Once His ministry started, Christ was constantly at work: healing, teaching, correcting, rebuking, comforting and preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Christ said in John 5:17 that:

“My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

Whatever the need was, Christ made sure He filled it.

Men are supposed to be hard workers, making the necessary sacrifices for their mates and families. When needs present themselves, masculinity goes to work and starts on solutions to problems and doing what is needed for situations. There are times for rest, relaxation and recreation; however, masculinity is goal-focused and goal-oriented and respects priorities. The Scriptures teach that Christian work and activities should always be done with his maximum effort:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” [Ecclesiastes 9:10]

Implications for men today: Prioritized responsibilities always come before wants. Christians must keep their commitments and never let video games, sports, movies or any recreation, crisis and chaos interfere with what really matters in their lives (spiritual growth, relationships, jobs, serving, etc.).

3. Christ was bold and confident

Despite how misguided “Christian” art portrays Jesus Christ, He was not a long-haired, pale, effeminate man who walked around in a white robe with a halo!

Christ was a strong, powerful and, at times, forceful man. Christ stood up to the most influential religious and political authorities of His time and pulled no punches. Matthew 23 records Christ fully revealing the hypocrisy, hatred and danger of the Pharisee’s doctrine. He did this with ultimate confidence and boldness. Christ showed physical force and strength when He responded to those misusing the temple to take advantage of people and defiling God’s temple (John 2:16). Christ was no stranger to making important decisions; in fact, He prayed all night before choosing His twelve (12) disciples (Luke 6:12). Still, He made these bold and confident decisions because of His trust in God to guide Him.

Admittedly, many times, some Christians are unsure as to whether they are doing what God wants them to do. Yet using the Bible as their compass and knowing that God is there to guide them and help them, they need to have the masculine trait of being “strong and of good courage.” [Deuteronomy 31:6]

Implications for men today: Get the facts and step out on faith. You must lead your families with courage and not with uncertainty and fear. You must take the initiative when you are needed and be brave. You cannot be dominated by indecisiveness and timidity. You will protect and provide for your families, as God protects and provides for you all.

In Christianity, Christ was the only man who was really “the Man.” His example of masculinity can help men today break out of society’s many false ideas about what boys and men should be. Instead of developing your manhood based on societal ideas, study the life of Jesus Christ and work to be the kind of Man He was!

– Real Christians Are To Be Peacemakers

The purpose of this “Christ vs. Christianity” article is to show how many churches and individuals today who profess the name of Christ teach and practice things that are directly contrary to what Jesus Christ actually taught. If you would judge Jesus Christ by some of those who profess to follow Him, you might think that Jesus would be an advocate of individual’s expression of disdain and even hatred toward their “enemies” and of nation’s reliance on battle-hardened military might.

But is this actually what Jesus stood for — or would stand for today?The Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew 5, 6 and 7) is one of the most detailed teachings of Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament. In this vital and important Sermon, Jesus Christ laid out the central facets of the way of life He taught His followers.

One of the central themes of the Sermon on the Mount is Christ’s expectation that His followers be characterized by peace — not by crisis, violence or war.

In the famous opening to this great Sermon known as the Beatitudes, Jesus taught:

“Blessed and happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” [Matthew 5:9]

Therefore, real Christ’s followers should be characterized by living a way that leads to peace — totally the opposite of a life characterized by violence, chaos and strife.

The Christian standard of being a peacemaker is found throughout the New Testament. The apostle Paul wrote that Christians are to do whatever possible to:

“Live peaceably with all men.” [Romans 12:18]

Many scriptures support the basic truth that Christians are to:

“Pursue peace with all people.” [Hebrews 12:14; see also 2 Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 5:22; James 3:17]

– Christ And The Spirit Of The Sixth Commandment

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Jesus Christ also made a shocking statement in commenting on the Sixth Commandment (of the 10 Commandments). He said:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hellfire.” [Matthew 5:21-22]

Jesus was expanding the meaning of the Sixth Commandment by revealing the spirit of the law against taking human life. Jesus showed that it’s not just the physical act of murder that breaks the Sixth Commandment. Inner anger and hostility toward other human beings also break this law.

Yes, having feelings of hatred toward other human beings is a sin and breaks the Sixth Commandment!

The rest of the Bible elaborates on this key statement by Christ. Notice what John wrote:

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” [1 John 3:15]

Many other scriptures make it clear that hating another person is sin and breaks this commandment: [2 Corinthians 12:20 ; Titus 3:3 ; 1 John 2:9-11]

The ultimate intent of this commandment is to help Christians understand that God wants them to show love toward other human beings: [Mark 12:31 ; 1 John 2:10]

– Christ’s approach

Notice this teaching later in the Sermon on the Mount:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. …“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” [Matthew 5:38-39, 43-44]

These words could be considered some of the hardest to apply of all of Jesus Christ’s teachings! The Gospel accounts show us that Jesus not only taught this standard, but practiced it: [Matthew 10:23; 26:51-53 ; Luke 4:28-30 ; John 8:49; 10:39]

Real Christians should operate on the principle found in Romans 13:10:

“Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

– The implications

Jesus Christ’s teachings and practices are very clear when we honestly read the four Gospel accounts. Real Christ’s followers are to demonstrate love for others — and one major way they are to demonstrate love is through a life of peace and nonviolence.

Jesus Christ wants His followers to put their trust in Him for protection and to be noted for their peace and love for others! The Kingdom of God, the focus of Jesus Christ’s message, is all about how Jesus will bring peace to the world: [Isaiah 9:7]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! If you can remember, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma had, at the convocation of Taraba State University last week, urged Nigerians to resort to self-defence in the face of unending killings across the country.

Respected Nigerians! TY Danjuma’s statement is a threat to the peace in Taraba state and Nigeria in general. He should be prosecuted for treasonable felony.

He also accused the military of complicity in the killings, especially in Taraba, where he said that the “herdsmen” were being aided in killing innocent citizens.

And you see, some people, who are the enemies of their country (Nigeria) supported him in this dangerous call and unguarded statements. And as you all knows, if the war break out in the country you will not see them, they will all run with their family, living the poor people and their children in the country killing themselves. Let those people fear their creator, let them repent before it’s too late.

This are not the characteristics of real men. Real men will always contribute to the unity, progress, development and peaceful coexistence of their communities and their country. They will not and never call on people to slaughter themselves.

As you see, all the religions teaches it’s followers to live in peace, so we don’t know were those people got their own teachings.

* The Killings In Zamfara State

Dear Brothers and Sisters! What is actually happening in my State, Zamfara, of massacre, abduction and killing of innocent and defenseless people, of sacking and looting of communities need a deliberate and decisive approach from those charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties – the state and federal governments and all the stakeholders in the security of our dear state.

Innocent and defenseless people are silently being killed everyday in Zamfara State.

I ask Allah the Almighty, in His infinite mercy, to give the Zamfara people peace and tranquility and to give our leaders the strength and the wisdom to do the needful.

Our leaders must not fail and turn a blind eye against those that are under their leadership. The fear of standing in front of Allah to be questioned should force us to rearrange our thought pattern. We must not because of this world mortgage our Hereafter.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Fellow Nigerians! As Muslims and fellow humans, we should remember the oppressed people everywhere in the world in our prayers.

May Allah protect our country, Nigeria, from evil people and mischief makers, ameen.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi state, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists/Khawarij, Murderers And Killers In A Wrong Way, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

To proceeds:

Dear Servants of Allah! As you know, the female students of the Government Girls Secondary Technical College Daphi, Yobe State, who were abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists last month were Alhamdulillah released. Though five of them were reported to have died and one still in captivity.

Thanks be to Almighty Allah for their release. I, on behalf of the congregations of our Mosques rejoices with the schoolgirls, their parents, their relations, the Federal Government of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Army, all the security agents and the entirety of Nigerians for the early return of the girls. But I pray that they were released without paying any ransom to the terrorists.

We indeed have every reason to make some sigh of relief with this uncommon and happy development. May the remaining one, Leah Sheribu, be speedily returned and reunited with her families. And May Allah the Almighty have mercy to the lives of the departed ones, and to make Jannatul Firdaws be their last abode. May the nightmarish incidence of their abduction and their release never be repeated again in the country. Ameen.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Let everyone know that, if it is true as has being widely speculated, the Nigerian government enters into a negotiations with the terrorists/khawarij on the basis of paying ransom to them, wallahi it will be weakness, incompetence and failure of the government.

For example, if the terrorists laid down their arms first, adopted peaceful path and put forward demands in the form of dialogue, it was responsibility of the government to listen to them.

Rightful demands should be accepted from them while unjustified ones should be rejected.

Conducting negotiations with the terrorists/khawarij before breaking their back was wrong, and was not in accordance with the Noble Quran and Sunnah. But unfortunately our leaders and our politicians did not adopt this approach prescribed by the Noble Quran and Sunnah because of their selfish and political interests.

If this kind wrong negotiations with the terrorists/khawarij were to be held, why had the kidnappers, thieves, robbers, killers and all the remaining criminals been put behind the bars and why were they being prosecuted in the courts of law? Dialogue should also be conducted with them, adding that the entire legal and judicial system should be done away with them and all issues should be settled through dialogue. It was all right to hold dialogue but there should be proper time and manner of holding it.

The power of terrorists, extremists, khawarij, kidnappers, robbers, cattle-rustlers, armed bandits, aggressors and rebels should be broken first, compelling them to accept the writ of the state, adopt peaceful path and resort to talks by laying down arms.

The terrorists/khawarij had occupied parts of the country and created state within the state. They had killed thousands of innocent people including personnel of security forces and still continued on the killing spree. The people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states had been struggling for many years with the dead bodies of their near and dear ones killed by the terrorists.

Then as to what was the crime of these people and what they were being punished for? Public places, Mosques, Churches, religious leaders and security forces were being attacked with abandon and the people were being slaughtered mercilessly. There was no doubt about the fact that the terrorists wanted to get their demands accepted through use of brute force and power. The government’s decision to hold talks in these circumstances reflected weak point of view and lack of firm resolve.

Therefore, we made it clear that those who insisted on the option of talks with the terrorists were in fact protecting them and supporting their philosophy and ideology. Those who indulged in terrorist acts were no martyrs, rather they were cowards, miscreants and mischief makers who worked on the agenda of their financiers. These terrorists wanted to undermine the nuclear status of this country. They are own their own. They are not working for or on behalf of Islam and the Muslims.

And there was a particular segment of the Ulama’ in Nigeria who did not take a clear stance on terrorists by being silent or by making confused statements and shifted the entire blame on the international communities. New issues were raised in a manner that the real problem and questions about conduct of the terrorists were left behind. The purpose behind this deliberate campaign was to keep the nation confused.

There was no denying the importance of talks in principle but it was the question of how and when and from position of strength or weakness. The people had been divided along the ideological lines and confusion was created in this manner. We should neither be slave to the international communities nor should we go to war with them, we should not compromise upon our independence and sovereignty. Some religious figures collected dollars and euros wrongly in the name of preaching. Wallahi, as long as wrong foreign money continued to flow into Nigeria, as long as government pay ransom to terrorists, terrorism would continue. Wal iyazu billah.

My respected people! Boko Haram are khawarij, the dogs of hellfire!!! There can be no wrong negotiations with such murderers and killers. If you can remember, the government did dialogue with them years back and signed the agreement, but the agreement did not go anywhere. They continued with their acts of terrorism. They can only be crushed, by force.

If there is anyone within their ranks who want to do Tauba, who want to repent, then they must openly declare that Nigeria is legitimate state and fighting against Nigeria is Haram!!! Only then, there can be any talks for giving them exit. If they continue to declare Nigeria as illegitimate state and consider killing of Nigerians as “Halal”, then there can be no talks with terrorists/khawarij.

I warn the leaders of Nigeria, I warn the politicians, for making any surrender against these animals. Talks can be done with human, NOT with “dogs of hellfire”!!! Keep this Ruling of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in front of you when you talk about the terrorists/khawarij of Boko Haram.

The Messenger of Allah said:

“…If I live to see them (khawarij/terrorists) I will kill them like the killing of (the people of Aad).” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And unless we eliminate those underlying conditions that allow Boko Haram enjoy local support, the future will augur very badly. When our elites consider leaving our people in ignorance, in poverty and in disease as an official policy and elevate corruption to a status surpassing all good virtues, we ask for Boko Haram and Boko Haram we shall get.

For now, for any meaningful development or rehabilitation to thrive, we have to win the war to preserve the peace. We have to up our game. Our capabilities should keep pace with Boko Haram dynamism. Negotiating with terrorists may bring temporary lull and short-term political benefits but risk emboldening them in the long-run, setting a dangerous precedent.

Nations do not buy peace through appeasement but through sacrifice. Boko Haram’s jihadist utopia is incompatible with true Islam and the realities of our 21st century. They cannot be reconciled by any stretch of compromise. Boko Haram and its terror allies know only one language – defeat. We have to do whatever it takes to defeat Boko Haram and their murderous ideology that fuels it, even as its consequences will continue to echo long after it is militarily extinguished.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Let me quote my brother, Professor Farooq A. Kperogi who said:

“After the usual, predictable protestations from government officials to the effect that no ransom had been paid to the terrorists to secure the release of the girls, Sahara Reporters disclosed on Wednesday that five million euros had been paid to the Al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram. “But a source who also participated in the negotiations with Boko Haram that led to release of over 80 Chibok girls in 2017 told Sahara Reporters that the federal government not only made the ransom payment of five million euros to the insurgents,” the paper wrote, adding that government “also exchanged some Boko Haram prisoners in return for the Dapchi girls.”

It’s easy to dismiss this as speculative or even made-up, but examples from the immediate past should give us cause for pause. For instance, the government had denied paying any money to the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram for the release of 80 Chibok girls, but Wall Street Journal’s explosive and exhaustive report of December 24, 2017 proved beyond all shadows of doubt that “Nigeria paid a secret ransom of €3 million to free some of the kidnapped schoolgirls.”

Three million euros adds up to nearly 1.5 billion naira. In another case, the BBC reported that the government paid a hefty ransom to Boko Haram. “The ransom was €2m. Boko Haram asked for euros. They chose the suspects and gave us the list of girls who would be freed,” BBC quoted a source as confiding in them. It’s pointless recounting all the numerous credible revelations of ransom payments to Boko Haram by the government because it was the subject of my column two weeks ago, but the point being made is that Boko Haram is now better financed by the Nigerian government than our military is.

And, as sure as tomorrow’s date, the terrorist group will continue to use the war chest handed to them by our government to unleash more terror, abduct more girls, and earn more money. It has become a profitable racket. While it’s hard to make the case that money shouldn’t be paid to secure the release scared, innocent girls, it’s also good to remember that the money paid to secure the release of some girls will be used to abduct other girls and inflict harm on others. So ransom payment isn’t a sustainable strategy. Any country that purchases its peace will perpetually be indebted to war.

But more than that, Boko Haram is now winning the ideational war. For instance, reports said that when members of the group returned the Dapchi girls, they stayed for a bit and preached against girl-child education. They told the girls to never go to school again or risk abduction. In a region that desperately needs education, especially girl-child education, we’ve been set back by probably five decades.

No responsible parents will send their daughters to school again. The girls’ life is infinitely more important than their education. Similarly, Boko Haram is clearly now being unwittingly lionized, deodorized, decriminalized, and mainstreamed by the government. The photos and videos shared by the Daily Nigerian online newspaper of jubilant crowds cheering Boko Haram terrorists in Dapchi while the group freely hoists its flag is disconcerting. The terrorist group isn’t just being financed by the Buhari government through handsome ransom payments; it is also being unintentionally glamorized.

There is no bigger recruitment tool for the group than this. It’s a loud message that crime does pay.” [See Daily Trust Newspaper of Saturday, March 24, 2018]

* Below is the Right Way To Debate and Dialogue With the Terrorists/Khawarij

Ibn Abbas narrated that:

“When the Haruriyyah, the Khawarij, the terrorists rebelled in the time of Khalifah Ali Bin Abi Talib, they isolated themselves in a place. There were 6000 of them and they were united in rebelling against  Ali’s government. Continuously people would come to Ali and say, “Oh Leader of  the Believers, verily these people are rebelling against you.” He  would reply, “Leave them, verily I will not fight them until they fight us and that is what they will do.” So when it came to that day, I came to Ali before the noon prayer and I said to him, “Oh Leader of the Believers, delay the prayer until it is cooler perhaps I will speak to these people.”

He said: “Verily, I fear for you.” I said, “Never! I used to be known as a man of good manners, I never harmed anyone.” He gave me permission to go. So, I put on a very nice garment, the best of what one could get from Yemen and I combed my hair. Then, I visited them at midday while they were eating. I had entered upon a people, the likes of whom I had never seen with regards to their exertion in worship. Their foreheads were wounded due to their (constant) prostration (in prayer) and their hands had become rough like camel’s feet, wearing recently washed, untidy shirts with very high raised clothing and with tired and worn out faces [due to not caring for themselves].

So, I greeted them and they said,  “Welcome, oh son of Abbas! And what is this cloak you are  wearing?” I asked, “What deficiency do you see from me? Indeed, I saw the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) dressed in the best of what you can find in Yemeni clothing, then I recited this verse to them:

“Say, “Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good things of provision?” [Quran, 7: 32]

Then they asked: “What has brought you here?” I told them, “I have come to you from amongst the Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) – the Muhajirun and the Ansar and from the son of the uncle of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) (Ali Bin Abi Talib), who is his son-in-law. And upon them descended the Quran; they are more knowledgeable about it than you and there is not one of them (the Companions) amongst you. I have come to convey to you what they say, and to convey to them what you say.” A group amongst them said, “Do not debate with the Quraysh because verily Allah, the Almighty says:

“Nay! But they are a quarrelsome people.” [Quran, 43: 58]

Then a group of them turned towards me and two or three of them  said: “Verily, we will speak to him.” So I said: “Come forward, what is the grudge you have against the Companions of the Allah’s Messenger and your leader, the son of his uncle (Ali Bin Abi Talib)?” They answered: “Three points.” I asked: “And what are they?” They said: “One of the points is that he (Khalifah Ali Bin Abi Talib) had men judge in a matter of Allah while Allah says:

“The judgment is for none but Allah.” [Quran, 6: 57 and Quran, 12: 40,  67]

“What have men got to do with the judgment?” I said: “This is one point.” They said: “As for the second point, then he fought people and he did not take captives nor did he take the war booty (Ghanimah). If they were disbelievers, then their captives are permissible for us and if they were believers then their captives are neither permissible to take nor was it allowed to fight them (in the first place).” I said: “This is the second point, and what is the third point?” Or he said something similar. They said: “He removed the title of ‘Leader of the Believers’ (Amir al-Mu’minin) from his name, and if he is not the ‘Leader of the Believers’ then he is the ‘Leader of the Disbelievers’ (Amir al-Kafirin).” I asked: “Do you have any points other than these?” They  replied: “These are sufficient for us.” I said to them: “Do you understand that if I read to you from the book of Allah the Almighty and from the Sunnah of His Prophet (Peace be upon him) that which refutes what you say, will you then return (back)?” They said: “Yes.” I said: “As for your statement that Ali had men judge in a matter that was for Allah; then I will read to you from the book of Allah, where Allah has delegated His judgment to men regarding the eighth of a quarter of a dirham. Allah the Most High commanded the people to judge in this matter. Do you not understand the saying of Allah the Almighty:

“Oh you who believe, do not kill the game while you are in a state of  Ihram, and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, then the penalty is an offering equivalent to the one he killed, as judged by two just men among you.” [Quran, 5: 95]

And it is from the judgment of Allah that He delegated men to judge  in this matter. If Allah willed, He could have judged in this matter but  He allowed men to judge. I ask you by Allah, is it better that men judge in something regarding reconciliation in disputes and in preventing bloodshed or regarding the hunting of a rabbit? They said: “Of course, this is better.” And regarding a woman and her husband Allah says:

“If you fear a breach between the husband and wife, appoint two  arbitrators: one from his family and the other from hers.” [Quran, 4: 35]

Is not men judging in reconciling disputes and in the prevention of  bloodshed better than men judging regarding the private parts of a  woman? Have we finished with this point? They replied: “Yes.” I said: “As for your statement, ‘He fought but did not take captives and did  not take war booty,’ then would you take your mother (in Islam),  Aisha, as a captive, making her permissible for yourselves for that  which you make permissible from other than her while she is your  mother? If you say, ‘We make permissible from her that which we  make permissible from other than her,’ then you have committed  disbelief. And if you say, “She is not our mother,” then you have also  committed disbelief. Allah the Most High said:

“The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers.” [Quran, 33: 6]

And so you are between the two ill judgments. So, which of them do you want to take? Have we finished with this point? They replied: “Yes.” As for Khalifah Ali removing the title of ‘Leader of Believers’, then I will give you something that will please you; verily, the Prophet of Allah contracted an agreement with the Mushrikin (the disbelievers of Quraysh) on the Day of Sulh Hudaybiyyah, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to Ali: “Write, oh Ali: This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, agrees with. They, the Mushrikin, said, ‘If we knew you to be the Messenger of Allah, we would not have fought you.’ So the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: “Oh Allah, indeed You know that I am Your Messenger.”

Erase it, Ali, and write: This is what Muhammad Ibn Abdullah agrees upon. “I swear by Allah that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is better than Ali and even he erased his own name, and erasing his name does not erase his Prophethood.” Have we finished with this point? They said: “Yes.” So 2,000 of them came back while the rest (4,000) of them rebelled and fought, based upon their misguidance, and the Companions of the Prophet, Muhajirun and Ansar fought them.”

[Narrated by al-Darimi in his Sunan and Bahshal in Tarikh Wasit. This narration is reported on the authority of Amr Ibn Salmah and  authenticated by al-Albani in al-Silsilah as-Sahihah, vol. 5 page 12-13. There are other narrations of this story. It has been narrated by Abdullah Ibn Ahmad in Zawa’id al-Zuhud, page 428, and by Abu Nu’aim in Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 4 page 380-381. Also recorded by al-?abrani in al-Kabir, vol. 9 page 125-126 and by Abdul-Razzaq in al-Mussannaf, no. 5409.  Al-Haythami narrated it in Mu’jam al-Zawa’id, vol. 1 page 181.

As for the narration of Abdul-Razzaq and al-Tabrani, it has been authenticated by al-Haythami in Mu’jam al-Zawa’id, vol. 1 page 181. The narration of Abu Nu’aim in al-Hilyat was reported on the authority of Abu Za’rah. Recorded by Abdul-Razzaq in his book al-Mussannaf no. 18678, Musnad Ahmad vol. 1 page 243, al-Mustadrak of Imam al-Hakim vol. 2 page 150152, Ibn Abdul-Barr in his book Jami’ Bayanil Ilm wa fadlihi, vol. 2 page 962-964/1834 and  others. This story has many other narrations in al-Kabir and Munazzarat a’immah as-Salaf, page 8991, and some of them were authenticated by al-Haythami]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! This is the right way of debating with the terrorists/khawarij. Show them that they are on the wrong way. They must surrender to the state or else you fight and kill them. You cannot negotiate with them like they have power or any authority.

Allah the Most High said:

“And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which rebels till it complies with the Command of Allah; then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable.” [Quran, 49: 9]

Imam Al-Ajuri said:

“Neither the scholars of old nor of these times, ever differed about the Khawarij (terrorists). They regarded them as an evil people who were disobedient to Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, and His Messenger, even though they prayed, fasted and exerted themselves in worship, and all of this was of no benefit to them, even though they were apparent in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and that did not benefit them because they were a people who interpret the Quran upon their desires.” [See Kitabush-Shari’ah by Imam al-Ajuri; Chapter: Rebuking the Khawarij and their evil Madhhab, and the permissibility of killing them, and the reward for killing them and the one killed by them, vol.1 page 325]

 Ali Bin Abi Talib – Allah be pleased with him – said:

“Do not be with the sinner (fajir), for he will beautify to you the things he does, and he will want you to be like him; and he will beautify to you the worst of his practices; and his entrance upon you and leaving from your company will cause ignominy and discredit [of you]. And do not accompany the fool (ahmaq), for he will exhaust himself [to help you] but will not benefit you, and he may want to benefit you but end up harming you; his silence is better than his speaking, his distance is better than his closeness, and him dying is better than him living. And do not accompany the liar, for life will not benefit you with him, he will tell others what you say, and tell you what others say; and if you speak the truth, it will not be believed.” [Abu Bakr Al-Daynuri, in Al-Mujalasah wa Jawahiril Ilm no. 1379]

* The Khawarij/Terrorists come with beautiful preaching but evil deeds

Anas Ibn Malik reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: There will be division and sectarianism in my nation and the Khawarij (terrorists) will come with beautiful words and evil deeds. They will recite the Quran but it will not pass beyond their throats. They will leave the religion as an arrow leaves its target and they will not return to it as the arrow does not return to its bow. They are the worst of the creation. Blessed are those who fight them and are killed by them. They call to the Book of Allah but they have nothing to do with it. Whoever fights them is better to Allah than them.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

And Imam Ibn Kathir said:

“If the Khawarij ever gained power, they would corrupt the entire earth, Iraq, and Syria. They would not leave alone a boy or a girl or a man or a woman, for in their view the people have become so corrupt that they cannot be reformed except by mass killing.” [See al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya, vol. 10 page 584]

Allah knows best.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reach via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: Being Tested In Your Life, Your Religion And Your Iman, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

To proceeds:

Respected Servants of Allah! The Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) actively call us to think, reflect and understand. We need to ask ourselves: what does Allah represent in my life? What does the Messenger of Allah represent in our life? What does the Quran reflect in my life?

The resulting quality of this reflection is gratitude. Gratitude is the driver of lasting benefit. We are Muslim because we are grateful to our Creator, Sustainer and Benefactor. We are Muslim because we believe in Allah.

This Islam that is fuelled by faith, stands the test of adversities. As opposed to Islam that is just based on identity which withers when tested.

Brothers and Sisters! I calls on us to nurture our strength of faith by not just going through the motions of religion. Rather, we should make every action an act of faith.

Know that your prayer is an act of faith. Know that your fasting is an act of faith. Know that your charity is an act of faith. Know that sticking to the halal and avoiding the haram is an act of faith. Know that visiting your parents is an act of faith. Know that to give your children good Islamic upbringing is an act of faith. Know that to contribute in bringing the lasting, permanent, and sustainable peace in your country is an act of faith. Know that your being involved in the community development, your social activism, your political activism, your maintaining ties with family and friends all of it is an act of faith.

Before any action, the believers should turn their heart to Allah. They should ask: what does Allah seek from me? Don’t just focus on the action. Focus first on Allah. If you do that, nothing will harm you.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“If you ask, ask from Allah. If you rely, rely upon Allah.”

Religion is about Allah Most High alone.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Muslims will endure many trials throughout their lives. Allah tests us with hardship and also with prosperity in order to validate the sincerity of our faith (our Iman).

Servants of Allah! During the most difficult and confusing times of our lives, our faith is often shaken. We begin to question who we are and what we believe. Sometimes when there is no one around to hear us but the walls of our room and Allah above the heavens, we cry out, “Why me? Why is this happening to me?”

Our despair can be due to the death of a loved one, to a terminal illness diagnosis, or even the loss of a coveted career or educational opportunity. But regardless of the details of our individual trials, beneath each episode is the excruciating feeling of helplessness because we have lost – or we are at risk of losing – something that is dear to us or something that we believe is essential to our sense of self or the meaning of our lives.

My people! No one is exempt from life’s trials, not even Prophets, Messengers and righteous people. Allah the Almighty says:

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] Messenger and those who believed with him said, ‘When [will come] the help of Allah?’ Unquestionably, the help of Allah is [always] near.” [Quran, 2:214]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Why does Allah test us?

When someone asks us, ‘What is your religion?’ we say ‘Islam.’ But what really makes us Muslims? What is the proof that we’re worthy of being called Muslims? It’s the same proof that teachers use to make sure a student is worthy of being at the school – a test. That is the reason that Allah the Exalted tests me, tests you and them, as He said in the Quran:

“Who has created death and life that He may test which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” [Quran, 67: 2]

And:

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sabirun (the patient)?” [Quran, 3:142]

And:

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves.” [Quran, 3:186]

And:

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them…” [Quran, 29: 2-4]

My respected people! When does Allah test us?

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The extent of the reward will be in accordance with the extent of the trial. If Allah loves a people, He tries them, and whoever is content will have contentment, and whoever is angry will have anger.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Allah tests us in order to make us better and stronger Muslims. The point where you overcome a test successfully, you are not the same anymore, you are now better prepared for further challenges, you have stronger belief in Allah and more hopeful of success. Allah the Most High said:

“No calamity occurs, but by the permission of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything.” [Quran, 64:11]

Servants of Allah! How does Allah test us?

The tests of Allah are different for different individuals, custom-made according to their particular strengths and weaknesses. The things which seem like a trial to me may not even bother you a bit, and vice versa. Therefore we must not look at someone depressed over something that seems trivial to us and say, ‘Look what a weak person she/he is!’ It may be just that his/her strengths are different than yours.

Allah tests some people with poverty, others with emotional distress, others with illness, others with evil children, others with evil wives, others with bad husbands, others with dangerous neighbours, others with bad, corrupt, evil and inexperienced leaders, others with their work, business and friends, others with terrorism and terrorists, and yet others with prosperity and fame. How come prosperity is a test? When things are going well, we tend to forget about Allah and the Hereafter, and death, and as a result we may lose the most precious thing to a believer – Iman.

“Indeed, mankind was created anxious: When evil touches him, impatient, And when good touches him, withholding [of it].” [Quran, 70:19-21]

* What to do when Allah tests us

Allah the Almighty said in the Quran:

“And seek help in patience and As-Salah (Prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for humbly submissive [to Allah].” [Quran, 2:45]

Brothers and Sisters! The moment a trial strikes you, remember to be patient. The Prophet said:

“The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]

If it’s difficult to be patient, then pretend to be patient, and the pretense will soon turn real. The best way to do it is to just keep silent and pray to Allah for patience.

“Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims.” [Quran, 7:126]

Look at the beauty of this Du’a. When does one come to the verge of losing faith? When some disaster totally destroys a person. You will find many atheists complaining, ‘Where was Allah when such and such happened to me?’ So we ask Allah’s help against this ultimate disaster – loss of faith.

Allah describes those who are patient in the following verses:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.’ Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” [Quran, 2:155-57]

So whenever something bad happens, say as the Prophet said:

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji’un. Allahummah ajurni fi musibati wa akhlif li khairan minha.”

Meaning:

“To Allah we belong, and to Him is our Return. O Allah! Take me out of my plight and replace it with something which is better.” [Muslim]

And remember the saying of Allah:

“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” [Quran, 94: 5-6]

Therefore, Muslims will endure many trials throughout life such as being afflicted by a calamity, suffering oppression, or even ingratitude in the face of prosperity. A Muslim must remain patient with the command and decree of Allah so as to avoid injustice, selfishness, and various evil deeds that might come about during a trial.

I ask Allah to relieve the suffering of Muslims and to guide us through the trials of life and death.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this, I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Rajab 5, 1439 AH (March 23, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Friday Sermon: They Threw Away The Book Of Allah Behind Their Backs As If They Did Not Know, By Imam Murthada Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! The objectives of my today’s Sermon is to recall the main parts of the marriage ceremony, to consider the importance of marriage in Islam, and to condemn the activities of those Muslims playing with and mocking their creator (Allah) in their marriage celebrations.

Dear Servants of Allah! The forthcoming union of the daughter of Africa’s richest billionaire, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the pilot son of former Inspector General (IG) of Police, Alhaji MD Abubakar, promises to be the mother of all weddings. The high profile wedding ceremony between Fatima Dangote and Jamilu Abubakar is reportedly scheduled to hold in March 2018.

As the wedding bells ring for the couple, their families are planning to spare no expense in giving them the treat of a grand wedding celebration. According to the reports, about five presidents in the world and all the past presidents of Nigeria are billed to attend the wedding. Likewise, world’s renowned billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft boss, Bill Gate, has confirmed his intent to attend the wedding in March at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.

My Respected people! The first phase of Fatima Dangote’s wedding to Jamilu Abubakar kicked off in a grand-style last week.

As mentioned, Fatima is the daughter of billionaire businessman and Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote while Jamilu is the pilot son of former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar.

A pre-wedding dinner held in Kano state to officially mark the commencement of the traditional rites.

The event was attended by friends, well-wishers, associates and family members of both Dangote and the Abubakar families.

The wedding will take place on Thursday, March 15 in the ancient city of Kanon Dabo.

The nuptial ceremony will climax in Lagos state at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos on Saturday, March 24.

Congratulations to Fatima Dangote and Jamilu Abubakar. I’m wishing you a happy marriage life. May Allah bless you and shower His blessings on you and Allah unite you both in goodness. Ameen.

And I salute Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Fatima’s father, who says he does not want alcohol served at his daughter’s wedding.

Aliko Dangote reportedly says there should be no alcohol when his daughter ties the knot in March.

Several media outlets say that the decision is religion-based. And Alhamdulillah, the billionaire father of the bride and the groom’s father are both good Muslims, as is the couple.

In accordance with Islamic doctrines, guests will reportedly not be entertained with alcohol when the ceremony happens next month at the convention centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! In the other hand, Allah the Most High said:

“And when We intend to destroy a city (town or a country), We command its affluent, its well-to-do, its elites, its big men (to obey Allah) but they defiantly disobey therein; so the word (i.e., deserved decree, deserved punishment) comes into effect upon it, and We destroy it with (complete) destruction. And how many have We destroyed from the generations after Prophet Nuh (Noah). And sufficient is your Lord, concerning the sins of His servants, as Acquainted and Seeing.” [Qur’an, 17: 16 -17]

And He the Almighty said:

“And when there came to them a Messenger from Allah confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they did not know!” [Qur’an, 2: 101]

My beloved people! If you can recall, recently, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, literally became a Makkah of sorts, as personalities from all walks of life converged on the ancient city to grace the talk-of the-town wedding reception of Idris and Fatima, son and daughter of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and his Kano State counterpart, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

The memory of the wedding reception, held at the renovated Agodi gardens on Saturday, which would continue to register in the minds of people for a long time, had in attendance the prominent Nigerians who converged on Agodi Gardens to celebrate with the couple and their families.

Actually, without any doubt, the glamorous wedding of Fatima Ganduje and Idris Ajimobi, children of two Nigerian governors, is a disgrace to Islam and Muslims, as the wedding witnessed a flurry of unislamic activities both in Kano and Ibadan running for several days. Wallahi the bride and groom did not conduct themselves with decorum and respect and actually all the blames will go back to their parents for not guiding them do the right thing.

For God’s sake look at what happened in Kano and Ibadan. That thing really upset every sensible and positive thinking Muslim. The daughter of the governor cuddling in the presence of people. Yet it was the same state that sanctioned an actress (Rahama Sadau) for cuddling someone in a musical video. Now the daughter of the governor has done it openly which means it is now legal.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Fatimah Ganduje is a daughter of Muslim serving leader, someone nicknamed himself “KHADIMUL ISLAM”, a Governor of sort from the core north, a state with high expectations of Islamic and moral teaching background in the country. The groom, Idris, is also a Muslim, his father, Governor Abiola Ajimobi a Muslim. Yet with all that, they throw it away because of the luxury and parental support they has of doing whatever they needs without shame and without stop. Islam does not allow you or anyone to be quite in a situation that warranted such acts of immorality in the society.

Please where is the so-called Hisbah in the state? Is your Hisbah work finish only at policing the activities of the poor man? Talaka bawan Allah! Haba Nigerians, is this the kind of people we elect as our leaders? Let the people of Kano fear Allah. This is the height of immorality, and to also remind you of what happened to many past disobedient people and nations. You should not provoke Allah, you should not anger the creator of all that exist. You should wallahi be careful.

Allah the Most High said:

“And when they angered Us, when they provoked Us, We took retribution from them and drowned them all. And We made them a precedent and an example for the later peoples.” [Qur’an, 43: 55]

Dear Servants of Allah! As the show of indecency, immorality and flamboyance continued by the Ganduje’s and Ajimobi’s amidst increasing poverty, hunger, squalor and Almajiri problems  in the land, the question to ask by every right thinking person is, can Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje actually be a so-called “KHADIMUL ISLAM” (i.e. The supporter, uplifter and helper of Islam) or a HADIMUL ISLAM (the destroyer of Islam)? Is Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in control of his house? How can such a character be trusted with a huge and challenging public responsibility like managing Kano State? Even Desert Herald Newspaper can reveal to us that over N400m of Kano’s resources was wasted in a marriage that is doomed to fail due to the  withdrawal of blessings by Allah the Almighty, unless if they repent and seek the pardon and forgiveness from Him Subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Dear Servants of Allah! A brother and a social media user, Mallam Gimba Kakanda shared a post saying:

“So some of our Arewa girls want a “Yoruba demon” like Ajimobi’s son, Idris, to press their breasts in public in the name of love. We are sorry that we weren’t raised that way. If that’s how you want to be loved, perhaps you should meet Fatima Ganduje for tips. It’s amusing to find out that Hisbah only police the morality of the poor. This has been my case against the brand of Shari’ah our elite introduced in Northern Nigeria, where Rahama Sadau is vilified for the very “indecency” the politician’s daughters are celebrated, where Danlami the Shopkeeper is punished and humiliated in public for stealing N1000 while the politician who stole N1,000,000,000 enjoys royal treatment in the same society. I’m not for morality policing, but such hypocrisy bites me. You see, this country is a beautiful place, a place of vast opportunities. It just isn’t for the poor. Being poor is itself a crime in Nigeria.”

My people! In Islam, the establishment of justice is one of the most essential  goals in the sending of the Prophets and in revealing the divine  scriptures [See Qur’an, 57: 25]. The just people are loved by Allah [See Qur’an, 60: 8] while the unjust will face the fire of Hell [See Qur’an, 72:15].

The Prophet once observed:

“Allah does not bless a community in which the weak cannot take  from the strong what is rightfully theirs without fear of reprisal.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Deviation from the path of justice is not allowed, even when it concerns one’s opponent or enemy [See Qur’an, 5: 8]. The leader and the led, the rich and the poor, black and white, should be treated equally before law, without any discrimination or distinction of race, colour, sex, language, religion, region, class, political affiliation, birth or other status. The following incident illustrate how strictly this  ideal was religiously maintained in the early phase of Islam in  accordance with Islamic doctrines and commandments. A woman  by the name of Fatimah, belonging to the Banu Makhzum tribe,  once committed a theft. Her kinsfolk, fearing that her hand would  be amputated, sent Usamah Ibn Zayd to intercede with the Prophet  on her behalf. When the Prophet heard this preplanned intercession, signs of anger appeared on his face saying:

“Are you trying to sway me as to the limits laid down by Allah?” He asked!

Usamah Ibn Zayd immediately admitted his mistake and begged  the Prophet to pray on his behalf for forgiveness. The Prophet then  delivered a powerful Sermon to those assembled there saying:

“Communities of old came to grief and destruction because of the  disparity and leniency shown to those in high positions when they  committed such an offence. On the contrary, any offender of  humble origin or lowly status in society had harsh punishment  meted out to him. By Allah, if my own daughter Fatimah were  to steal, I would have her hand cut  off.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Know that, in Islam, marriage is a legal union between a man and woman without which they cannot be together. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) considered marriage to be a part of Sunnah, then he added:

“Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.”

In another narration, he said:

“O young people, those of you who can support a wife should marry, for marriage controls the gaze and protects the private parts from prohibited acts. And if one is unable to marry, he should fast for it is a shield.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

This narration is guidance from the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) directed towards the Muslim youth specifically, due to the fact that desires and lusts in the young adults are stronger and thus the need for them to marry is greater. For this reason, he (Peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged them with marriage. Allah stated:

“Say [O Prophet] to the believing men to lower their gazes and to guard their chastity for that is purer for them. Indeed Allah is All-aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gazes and to guard their chastity..” [Qur’an, 24: 30-31]

So looking at the opposite sex has inherent dangers that a person cannot escape from except by three affairs:

1. To lower the gaze and not to hold glances.

2. Marriage for the one who is able to do so.

3. Fasting for the one who is not able to marry, for it is a shield.

Allah (the Most High) stated:

“And let those who cannot find the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste until Allah enriches them from His Bounty.” [Qur’an, 24: 33]

And from being chaste is lowering the gaze and keeping away from the places of tribulation, and to avoid freely-mixing with the opposite sex as all of these are means to tribulation as is known to every intelligent and wise person. Allah the Almighty stated:

“And marry those amongst you who are single and the righteous of your male and female servants. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty.” [Qur’an, 24: 32]

Marriage is strongly recommended in Islam and most Muslims believe that it is their duty to marry and have children as the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) did. Marriage is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the Muslim world.

But there are common key features legislated in Islam: The willing consent of both parties, the consent of the guardian for his ward (usually a daughter) to marry, the presence of two just Muslim witnesses, and the giving of the dowry to the bride by the groom.

1. Willing consent: Both parties must willingly agree to the marriage in front of at least two trustworthy Muslim witnesses. This is to make sure that no one is forced to marry because forced-marriages are forbidden in Islam. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) allowed a woman to have her marriage cancelled when she complained that she was married to a man without her consent. The Prophet stated:

“A previously married woman (Bazawara) cannot be married off until she is consulted, and a virgin (Budurwa) cannot be married off until she gives her consent.” He was asked: “And how does she give consent?” He replied: “By her silence (if she is shy to speak).” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The great Scholar and Faqih (Jurist), Shaykh Salih Al-Fawzan stated that:

“This narration is also a proof that a woman is not compelled or forced into marriage, regardless of whether she is a virgin or previously married. And those who make a difference between a virgin and a woman previously married by saying: “It is allowed to compel the virgin into marriage, but not a woman who has been previously married”, then this distinction is not correct and opposes the evidence.”

Ibn Abbas said:

“A virgin girl came to the Prophet and stated that her father had married her off against her will. So Allah’s Messenger allowed her to choose [to either stay with him or to leave him].” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah]

Yet you still find those who oppose this claiming that the guardian has a right to compel a woman under his care. So this narration is a clear evidence in this matter.

Each person is simply asked if they will accept the other as their husband or wife. When they answer “yes”, and the guardian agrees, the witnesses bear witness, the dowry is stated and accepted, then two copies of the marriage contract are signed by all those involves. One copy is kept in the Mosque or Islamic centre and the other with the married couple. Though the signing of the contract is not a condition, it is however deemed to be better since a record of the marriage contract is useful when disputes arise over what was agreed, or when travelling to other lands or when a written proof is requested by a judge etc.

2. The contract: The marriage contract is drawn up by the couple and their families. It sets out what each partner can expect from the other. Some modern-day contracts mention what will happen “if the marriage fails” and ends in divorce. Traditional contracts see no need for such additions since the success and failure of a marriage is in the Hand of Allah and then upon the couple to make it work. And if it fails, then Shari’ah Law decides the course of action. Marriage contracts, written or otherwise have existed since the earliest of times. A husband may include in the contract that she lives with his elderly parents, or assist him with children from a previous marriage. A wife may request in the contract that she is allowed to drive or get an online degree or request from her husband that he provides for children from a previous marriage.

* Roles in Marriage:

– Role of the wife:

1. Bring up and train her children as Muslims.

2. Run the home efficiently.

3. Obey her husband unless he orders her to break Allah’s law.

4. Dress with a correct Hijab (or a Muslim dress) when outside the home.

5. Be faithful and not to have prohibited relationships with men outside of marriage.

– Role of the husband:

1. Always act towards his wife according to the teachings of Islam.

2. Support his family and provide them with food, clothing, shelter and access to education, according to his power.

3. Be faithful and not have prohibited relationships with women outside of marriage.

3. The dowry: The husband is commanded by the Qur’an and Sunnah to give a dowry which is a wedding gift of money or possessions to his wife. She may do with it whatever she pleases.

4. The permission of the guardian. The presence of a “waliy” i.e. a guardian. So a marriage is not sound and correct except with a guardian who contracts the marriage for the woman and gives his permission. If she was to marry herself, then the marriage would be invalid. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) stated:

“There is no marriage except with a guardian.” [Ahmad and Abu Dawud]

And in another narration, he said:

“There is no marriage except with a guardian and two witnesses.” [Ibn Hibban and others]

The guardian is the closest male blood relative on her father’s side beginning with the father. As for her blood relatives through her mother, such as the maternal uncle, or her grandfather on her mother’s side, or her brother through her mother but not through her father, or the son of her maternal aunt, then all of these are male relatives from her mother’s side – and from this side they are not considered as her guardians. Rather her guardians are males from the father’s side beginning with the closest (i.e. her father) then the next in closeness. And if she does not have a guardian, then her guardian is the Muslim leader (like Sultan, Emir, judge or Imam), as will be discussed later – and this is due to the fact that the leader is the guardian of the one who has no guardian. A non-Muslim cannot be a guardian in marriage. The Prophet stated:

“Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian (waliy), then her marriage is invalid.”

He repeated it three times. Then he said:

“If he consummates with her, she is entitled to the dowry due to his making permissible her private parts. And if they dispute over her guardianship, then the leader is the guardian of the one who has no guardian.” [Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah]

Shaykh Al-Fawzan and other Fuqaha (jurists) state:

“If a woman’s guardians dispute, and differ between themselves or the woman differs with her guardians over a marriage partner – and she is in the right (after investigation), then the guardianship transfers to the leader or to the deputy of the leader (such as the Sultan, Emir, a court judge or an Imam). In the non-Muslim countries, it is those who take the role or the place of the leader in this affair, such as the Islamic centres (i.e. those in charge of them). So that would be the head of an Islamic organisation, or the head of an Islamic centre, who takes on the role of the guardian, because he has the role of religious responsibility, and takes on the role of guardianship. So this would be the case for women who convert to Islam.

If her father prevents her from marriage, then the guardianship is transferred from him to another near relative. And if there is no near relative, then it is transferred to the leader and so on. So the affairs are under the guidelines of the Shari’ah, not disorderly or chaotic.

5. Witnesses: The presence of two witnesses to the contract of marriage. And they must be trustworthy.

* The Pillars of the Marriage (Nikah) are:

Making the proposal of marriage and accepting it; both parties, the bride and groom are free from any impediment or obstacle that prevents the marriage from going ahead and being concluded.

* The Conditions of Marriage are four:

1. The guardian’s permission – and he is the father or whoever he appoints, or whoever takes his place (if the father has died or is a non-Muslim).

2. Two just Muslim witnesses.

3. The willingness of both the bride and the groom, each one being pleased with the other and making that known at the time of the marriage (i.e. the aqd an-Nikah).

4. That both parties are named, the groom is named and the bride is named. It is not sufficient that the guardian merely states:

“I have hereby married my daughter to you.”

Rather he must name her specifically because it is possible that he has a few daughters, so it is not known which one he has married off.

Likewise, it is not said:

“I have married her to your son.”

Because he may have a few sons, so it is not known which one. So it is necessary to name each of them.

6. Spreading news of the marriage: Shaykh Al-Fawzan stated:

“It is obligatory, or even a condition according to some of the Scholars to spread the news of the marriage. Either way, it is a must to do so – and the intent behind announcing the marriages is that they are not kept secret. The Prophet said:

“Announce the marriages.” [Ahmad and Al-Hakim]

He also said:

“Announce this marriage and strike the drum for it.” [Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]

The beating of the “Duff” (drum) by the women in marriage ceremony is a type of announcing because whoever hears it, comes to know that a marriage has taken place – and they rejoice, and the people supplicate for the marriage to be blessed. This is not to be accompanied by other haram/prohibited musical instruments and display of nudity, as that is prohibited by textual evidence. As for specifically playing the drum, then it is allowed on the occasions of marriage for the purpose of announcing the marriage and happiness.

From the types of announcing is to carry out a “walimah” (a meal or feast for invited guests), either upon the contract of the marriage or upon the consummation of the marriage. The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Perform a walimah (a wedding feast for guests) even if it is with one sheep.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The wedding ceremony and walimah in Islam take place in an environment of segregation between the sexes – in separate rooms or halls. A marriage unites two families and brings together communities and strengthens bonds of brotherhood in Islam. In British law, for example, this contract is not legally binding. There will have to be a civil ceremony as well as if the husband and wife want the rights that British law gives to married couples.

Muslims are strongly encouraged to treat marriage as a lifelong commitment. They are required to keep to the marriage contract. Islam allows divorce if the marriage breaks down, wal iyazubillah.

* No secret marriage in Islam

Dear Servants of Allah! As said earlier, it is a condition of a sound marriage that it be announced and attested to publicly. A secret marriage, which is only witnessed by a few people in private, is potentially harmful to those affected by it, as it almost always involves deception, and it is even more so if a man marries an additional wife in secret and without her consent.

Allah the Almighty said:

“Marry them with the permission of their families and give them their due as is good, chaste women, neither fornicators nor secret mistresses.” [Qur’an, 4:25]

Scholars have said that this verse prohibits secret marriages, by drawing an analogy between a ‘secret mistress’ and a secret marriage.

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“Imam Malik obligated announcing the marriage in public. A secret marriage is a type of prostitution. Allah the Almighty said: Chaste women, neither fornicators nor secret mistresses. [Qur’an, 4:25] Thus, a secret marriage is a type of secret mistress.” [Majmu’ al-Fatawa]

Scholars also refer to the statements of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) commanding the announcement of marriages in public.

Aisha reported that: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Announce this marriage publicly, conduct it in the Mosque, and strike the drums for it.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Muhammad Ibn Hatib reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“The difference between an unlawful and lawful marriage is the beating of drums and the raising of voices.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Based upon this evidence, it is said that a marriage conducted in secret is invalid and annulled.

Shaykh Abu Bakr Abdul Aziz said:

“A secret marriage is invalid, as Imam Ahmad said: If he is married with a guardian’s permission and two witnesses, it is not so until it is announced publicly.” [al-Mughni of Imam Ibn Qudamah]

Some scholars said that a secret marriage is valid, meaning it is in legal effect and cannot be annulled, even though it is disapproved to do so.

Imam Ibn Qudamah said:

“If the marriage is contracted with a guardian and two witnesses, but he keeps it secret or conceals its attestation, that is disapproved but the marriage is valid.” [al-Mughni]

The important point here is that the legal ‘validity’ of an act does not mean it is ethical or morally sound. If some scholars accept the validity of a secret marriage, that in no way implies they are endorsing or encouraging the act.

Nevertheless, many and majority of the scholars said that a secret marriage is not only invalid, but it is also a type of adultery. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab was particularly strict about this matter.

Abu Az-Zubair reported that: Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, was presented with a marriage which no one had witnessed except one man and one woman. Umar said:

“This is a secret marriage and I do not permit it. If I had known of it beforehand, I would have stoned them.” [al-Muwatta of Imam Malik]

And Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“As for a secret marriage, the attestation of which is concealed and witnessed by no one, it is invalid according to the prevalent opinion of scholars. It is a type of illicit intercourse.” [Majmu’ al-Fatawa]

Thus, secret marriages are forbidden in Islam as they resemble adultery, or at the very least they are morally disapproved. Believing men who fear Allah would be wise to avoid contracting a secret marriage, especially if they are marrying a second wife behind the backs of their first wives and their families.

Please, Fatima Aliko Dangote and Jamilu MD Abubakar, I want you to show to the world that you are good Muslims with good Islamic upbringing and training in your marriage ceremony. Do not do as others do. Do not put your religion to shame and disgrace. Know that Allah is watching you and all what you are doing. This is my Nasihah (an advice) to you and to every Muslim on their marriage celebrations. May Allah bless your union, ameen.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Ya Allah, Who saved Prophet Yunus from fish, Prophet Ibrahim from fire, Prophet Musa from fir’awn, Prophet Yusuf from well and Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from Quraysh, save us from every difficulties of life, turn all our expectations into reality, because you turn egg into bird, seed into tree, fluids into human, hardship into relief and cloud into rain. Answer our secret prayers and prosper the work of our hands. Ameen Ya Rabbal Aalamin.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumadal-Thani 28, 1439 AH (March 16, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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O You Who Believe: Have Fear Of Allah And Be With The Truthful, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

Respected Nigerians! If you can remember, when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2015 after visiting the Victims of Nyanya Bomb blast, and when the Chibok girls were kidnapped, was off to and headed for Kano to dance, people, including President Muhammadu Buhari criticized him as being inhumane and insensitive, but now that the Dapchi girls were abducted and President Buhari and his supporters considered attending the wedding ceremony in Kano more important, all in a bid to get votes (the same thing Jonathan did), and the same people who attacked and blasted Jonathan are now screaming sai Baba Buhari. Now I understand and realised that the leaders are not the only Nigeria’s problems, the hypocrisy of the followers too. Watch out my friend, the victims themselves, the oppressed who are bearing all the suffering will be the first to come here to defend this recklessness. You will soon hear them screaming sai Baba. Wallahi, until Nigerians begin to get serious and disciplined with things that really matter, i.e. priorities, NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE. It is your choice.

Remember Dear Nigerians! How President Muhammadu Buhari at that time used all manner of uncouth language to destructively criticize Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his party, the PDP.

Barely 48hrs when Rann in Borno state was attacked and sacked by Boko Haram terrorists, when the ethnic-religious crisis and killings is still going on in Kaduna, Adamawa and Benue states, when the attacks on innocent souls is still happening in Zamfara state, when many people were killed, several others injured and many houses burned to ashes in fresh attacks on communities, in Nyiwa, Nguroje and Yerimaru areas in Sardauna local government, Taraba State, President Buhari is in Kano attending a wedding ceremony, looking for Kanawa’s votes in 2019 election. And he is yet to visit any of the troubled states in Nigeria as at today.

Dear Mr. President! Please, after pleasing Governors Ganduje and Ajimobi by attending their children’s wedding ceremony in Kano, I beg you for Allah’s sake to kindly visit Dapchi mothers. Wallahi I know, seeing you would greatly give them hope and reduce their pains. But if it is true that you are on the side of the masses.

Haba Baba Buhari! You visited Kano for wedding celebration of the daughters of Ganduje and Ajimobi but couldn’t visit Dapchi where 110 school girls were abducted by Boko Haram or Benue, or Zamfara, Adamawa or Taraba?

Remember, ?the way you screamed when Chibok girls abducted, and the way you blasted Goodluck Jonathan. Wallahi we thought that you will be in the bush for now in Lake Chad looking for Dapchi girls to be rescued.?

How I wish you visit Dapchi to sympathise with the parents of the missing girls instead of attending Ganduje daughter’s wedding celebration in Kano. Is it because Governor Ganduje promised you five millions “underaged” votes while the Governor of Yobe did not? Or is it because your priority is your political ambition not the well being of the poor masses?

Respected Servants of Allah! Now wallahi any responsible person knows that Boko Haram terrorists is not completely defeated or  technically, spiritually, psychologically defeated or decimated as they always wanted us to understand!

And wallahi recent events happening in the country show that the President identifies with the elite more than with the common man. If you once believed or still believe the president had masses at heart, you are dreaming and it’s time you renounced the belief.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! I wrote this because I was extremely moved by the fact that while people were being killed at Sardauna local government area, on the Mambila Plateau of Taraba state; at Borno, Yobe, Zamfara, Adamawa, Kaduna etc, but President Muhammadu Buhari remained in Kano to celebrate the wedding of Governor Ganduje’s daughter. I also find it insensitive that Northern state governors also celebrated in Kano with Buhari while their people are being killed, and most of them even refused to pay the workers in their states their salary.

I can recalled that part of the negligence that consumed the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan was his campaigning in Kano at the time people were dying at Nyanya and Chibok girls abducted.

Mr. President, State Governors and all our elected representatives at all levels should, therefore, note that their neglect to act decisively in this circumstance will definitely form part of the burdens they would have to carry to the 2019 polls In Shaa Allah.

Our Problems in this country lies on us and their solutions lies with us. 2019 is another chance set aside for us to replace the problems with solutions, by the grace and power of Almighty Allah.

We must be sincere to ourselves, we must fear Allah and be always with the truthful.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Ask the average person to define truthfulness and the answer will most likely be restricted to something about truthful speech. Islam, however, teaches that truthfulness is far more than having an honest tongue. In Islam, truthfulness is the conformity of the outer with the inner, the action with the intention, the speech with belief, and the practice with the preaching. As such, truthfulness is the very cornerstone of the upright Muslim’s character and the springboard for his virtuousness deeds.

The great sage and scholar of Islam, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, said:

“Truthfulness is the greatest of stations, from it sprout all the various stations of those traversing the path to Allah; and from it sprouts the upright path which if not trodden, perdition is that person’s fate. Through it is the hypocrite distinguished from the believer and the inhabitant of Paradise from the denizen of Hell. It is the sword of Allah in His earth: it is not placed on anything except that it cuts it; it does not face falsehood expect that it hunts it and vanquishes it; whoever fights with it will not be defeated; and whoever speaks it, his word will be made supreme over his opponent. It is the very essence of deeds and the well spring of spiritual states, it allows the person to embark boldly into dangerous situations, and it is the door through which one enters the presence of the One possessing Majesty. It is the foundation of the building of Islam, the central pillar of the edifice of certainty and the next level in ranking after the level of Prophethood.” [See Madarij as-Salikin]

By practicing truthfulness, a person betters himself, his life is made upright and due to it, he is elevated to praiseworthy heights and raised in ranks in the sight of Allah as well as the people. As the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, related:

“I order you to be truthful, for indeed truthfulness leads to righteousness, and indeed righteousness leads to Paradise. A man continues to be truthful and strives for truthfulness until he is written as a truthful person with Allah. And beware of falsehood, for indeed falsehood leads to sinning, and indeed sinning leads to the Fire. A man continues to tell lies and strives upon falsehood until he is written as a liar with Allah.” [Sahih Muslim]

So, truthfulness is something which is to be cultivated till it becomes implanted in a person’s soul and disposition and therefore reflected throughout the person’s character. Ali bin Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, mentioned the positive reciprocal effect of behaving truthfully with people in this worldly life. He said:

“Whoever does three things with regards to people, they will necessitate three things from him: whenever he speaks to them he is truthful; whenever they entrust him with something he does not betray them; and whenever he promises them something he fulfils it. If he does this, their hearts will love him; their tongues will praise him; and they will come to his aid.” [See Adab ash-Shari’a of Ibn Muflih]

As for the Next Life, through Allah’s Grace and Mercy, the obedient ones – practitioners of truthfulness – will reach a station in Paradise alongside those most fortunate of souls mentioned in the revelation. Allah said:

“And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, such will be in the company of those whom Allah has blessed: the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent a company are such people!” [Quran, 4:69]

In fact, truthfulness is an essential attribute of every single Prophet who graced the earth. We are told in the Quran:

“And mention in the Book of Ibrahim (Abraham): surely he was a most truthful Prophet.” [Quran, 19:41]

“And mention in the Book of Isma’il (Ishmael): surely, he was a man true to his word, and he was a Messenger, a Prophet.” [Quran, 19:54]

“And mention in the Book of Idris (Enoch): surely he was a most truthful Prophet.” [Quran, 19:56]

We also read in the Quran how a man incarcerated alongside the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) addressed him with the words:

“Yusuf (Joseph)! O most truthful one!…” [Quran, 12:46]

And that Maryam (Mary), the mother of Isa (Jesus), was also declared truthful in the Words of Allah:

“The Messiah (Isa/Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother  (Maryam) was a truthful one, a Believer….” [Quran, 5:75]

And the Companions of Allah’s Messenger, the “believers” mentioned time and time again in the Quran, also reached the lofty ranks of the truthful ones:

“The believers are but those people who believed in Allah and His Messenger without ever feeling doubt thereafter, and strove with their souls and possessions in the way of Allah; those are the ones who are the truthful.” [Quran, 49:15]

Hence, to tread the path of truthfulness is to tread the path of the most righteous of Allah’s creation. And as for ways and means to engender this most noble of virtues into our daily lives, then we have been left an ocean of teachings from Allah’s Final Messenger to humanity, the Prophet Muhammad, detailing and describing precisely what the virtue, nay!, the injunction of truthfulness requires. One from among these vast and numerous sayings of Allah’s Messenger is his plea:

“Guarantee for me six things and I will guarantee Paradise for you: tell the truth when you speak, fulfill your promises, be faithful when you are trusted, safeguard your private parts, lower your gaze, and withhold your hands (from harming others).” [Reported by Ubaadah in As-Sahihah]

And Allah confirmed the truthfulness of these words of His Beloved Messenger with His Own True Word. He said:

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for patient men and women, for humble men and women, for charitable men and women, for fasting men and women, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise: for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” [Quran, 33:35]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Just as truthfulness is the very cornerstone of the upright person’s character and the springboard for his virtuousness, falsehood, its opposite, is the foundation of a person’s depravity and the launch pad for his wickedness. Just as the truthfulness of a person starts from within – that is, it is a reflection of a state of true faith – a person’s dishonesty, lying and deceit is also a reflection of the inner state. This is why Allah mentions truthfulness as being the opposite of hypocrisy:

“That Allah may reward the truthful for their truthfulness, and punish the hypocrites if He wills, or turn mercifully towards them…” [Quran, 33:24]

And why He mentions sincerity as a mark of truthfulness:

“So that Allah might recompense the truthful for their truthfulness….”

Little wonder then that the most righteous and truthful of people, the Prophets of Allah and their true followers, were not belied, denounced, opposed, oppressed and rejected except by those who were given to dishonesty, deceit and hypocrisy.

“It is only those who believe not in the Signs of Allah, who fabricate falsehood, and it is they who are the liars.” [Quran, 16:105]

That is regards to falsehood in faith. As for falsehood in deed, Allah states in the Quran:

“…that He may try you, which of you is the best in deeds.” [Quran, 67:2]

A great scholar from the early period of Islam, Fudail Ibn Iyad, commented on this verse, explaining:

“‘which of you is the best in deeds’ means ‘the most sincere and correct.’ If the deed is sincere and not correct, it will not be accepted, and if it is correct and not sincere, it will not be accepted. It will not be accepted until it is both sincere and correct!”

One everyday example of where sincerity and correction of action are often subverted by falsehood is in the buying and selling of goods. Hence we find the Prophet saying:

“If they (two parties meeting to trade) are truthful and clarify (any and all deficiency in their goods), their transaction will be blessed. But if they lie and conceal (any deficiency in their goods), the blessings of their transaction will be eradicated.” [Reported by Hakim bin Hizam, in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

And what of falsehood in speech? Falsehood of the tongue, or what is more commonly referred to as lying, is a characteristic roundly rejected by the entire world – even if its inhabitants may fall into it from time to time. After all, if Allah would punish his last and greatest Prophet in case he were to lie…

“If he (Prophet Muhammad) had invented false sayings concerning Us, We would surely have grasped him firmly, and then cut off the artery of his heart, and none of you could have withheld Us from doing this.” [Quran, 69:44-7]

…then how could lying be acceptable from anyone else besides His Prophet?! And he, the Prophet Muhammad, the Truthful One, said:

“A slave’s faith will not be upright until his heart is upright, and his heart will not be upright until his tongue is upright, and a man whose neighbour is not safe from his harm will not enter Paradise.” [Reported by Anas bin Malik, in As-Sahihah]

Again, the Prophet said:

“A person lies and lies, until he is written with Allah as a habitual liar.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Thus, the habitual liar is despised, truly and thoroughly despised, by all – even his own kind – as no-one can trust a liar, not even other liars. And just as clarity in speech is a sign of truthfulness, so then ambiguity, innuendo, sarcasm and every other form of deception and trickery of the tongue is denounced in Islam. Even lying in jest has been condemned by the Prophet when he said:

“I guarantee a house in the middle of Paradise for the one who leaves off lying even if it be in jest.” [Reported by Abu Umamah, in At-Tirmidhi]

…and his saying:

“Woe to the person who lies to make people laugh (or to make people happy! Woe to him, woe to him!” [Abu Dawud]

The Prophet’s closest friend and immediate temporal successor, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (i.e. the truthful – so named by the Prophet due to the truthfulness of his faith), further said:

“Beware of lying, for lying opposes (true) faith.” [Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman]

And the daughter of Abu Bakr, Aisha, who was the beloved wife of the Prophet, mentioned that:

“There was no trait more abhorrent to the Messenger of Allah, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, than lying.” [Ahmad in Musnad]

Suffice as a deterrence from lying is its being listed as a trait of that most wretched of conditions: hypocrisy. The Prophet Muhammad said:

“The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies; when he makes an oath he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust.” [Reported by Abu Hurairah, in Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Not only do we learn about the abhorrence of directly lying itself, but Islam also mercifully educates us as to the dangers of all that which indirectly leads to lying and insincerity.

Again from Aisha we learn that the Prophet would invoke his Lord, praying:

“O Allah! I seek refuge with you from all sins, and from being in debt.” When asked: “O Messenger of Allah! You frequently seek refuge with Allah from being in debt!” The Prophet of Allah replied: “If a person is in debt, he tells lies when he speaks, and breaks his promises when he promises.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

In the same vain, the Prophet explicitly ordered his followers to:

“Leave that which causes you doubt for that which does not cause you doubt. For in truthfulness lies tranquility, and in lying lies doubt.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Striving for truthfulness then, in spirit, word and deed, is a matter which requires the utmost steadfastness from the believer, as well as the utmost vigilance against the dangers of falsehood, insincerity, deceit and hypocrisy:

“That Allah will reward the People of Truth for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if that be His Will, or turn to them in Mercy; for Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Quran, 33:24]

Respected Servants of Allah! Let my detractors, those sending me a text messages that I became Kafir (unbeliever) for giving Nasihah to their god, President Buhari; those keep threatening me that my blood became halal to shed for telling their god, President Buhari to fear Allah and do what is right; those telling me that I’m the enemy of Muslims for saying the truth to those in authority; those people who are trying to give President Buhari the position of Allah or the position of His Messenger, or that in their side, President Buhari is Ma’asumi, that wallahi, standing for the truth is what I have done all my life and will continue standing for the truth for the rest of my life In shaa Allah.

I have lost money, friends and name because I have stood for the truth, I am happy to sacrifice everything for the truth.

I do not stand for the truth for fame or name or money, it would be very foolish of anyone to think that standing for the truth would earn them fame or name. The opposite is true. It attracts a lot of opposition and causes a lot of discomfort in society.

I do not stand for the truth because I will earn a fortune, I stand for the truth because I believe in it. When you stand for the truth rarely do you gain any wealth, often it is a life of hand to mouth existence. Nowadays poverty and hardship are constant companions of those who stand for the truth.

I do not stand for the truth because I want people to praise me or to love me. When you stand for the truth you gain a huge amount of criticism. It is extremely hard to hear abuse hurled at you, people calling you with different disrespect names, people swearing at you, people calling you names and saying the most despicable and disgusting things about you. But I am happy to take them on. The foul mouthed swearing and abusive mob can swear more. I know they will regret this one day whereas I will not regret standing for the truth In Shaa Allah.

I do not stand for the truth because my life would be easy. It would have been easier to live an insignificant life by staying quiet like most people. However, standing for the truth is hard on your life. It is extremely testing and scary but I have chosen this life of striving for the truth. I have received death threats, threats of being beaten up and even threats on my family. My life and death is determined by Allah, no human being can harm me or prolong or shorten my life accept that is the decree of Allah.

Everything that Allah has written for mankind from good and bad will definitely reach him and there is no escape from it:

“No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah. In order that you may not be sad over matters that you fail to get, nor rejoice because of that which has been given to you. And Allah likes not prideful boasters.” [Al-Hadid, 22-23]

“And if Allah touches you with hurt (calamity), there is none who can remove it but He; and if He intends any good for you, there is none who can repel His Favour.” [Yunus, 108]

This verse means: that Allah has decreed the good and the bad. So if harm befalls you, then no one can lift it except Him [Allah]. So if He wants good for you [from blessings], even if all the people on earth come together they will not be able to prevent that good from you.

And the Hadith of Ibn Abbas is in accordance with this verse:

“And know, that if all the Nation come together to benefit you with a thing, they will not be able to benefit you except with what Allah has written for you. And if they come together to harm you with a thing, they will not be able to harm you except with what Allah has written for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” [At-Tirmidhi]

I do not stand for the truth because it’s glamorous or fashionable, I stand for the truth because it is the truth. People’s right to freedom, equality and honour in general and poor’s right to equal treatment and honour in particular are some of my biggest struggles. I stand for economic and political equality of all people. I stand for fairness and non discrimination at all levels. The champions of these struggles have laid down their lives. Wallahi I have no problem in doing the same.

The biggest truth in my life is justice and fairness. When you actively deny people their rights I will challenge you, when you systematically abuse people’s human rights I will stand up against you, when you promote evil in society I will fight you. No threats or fear will stop me from continuing in my struggle.

That is my truth. You don’t have to like me for that. You do not have to follow me. You do not have to listen to a word of what I say. I will speak and promote truth until my last breath. All I care about is my hereafter and the pleasure of my Lord. Fairness and justice is closest to Godliness. And that struggle will continue with or without you!

Yes, some may doubt me. Some may accuse me of anything they like. Others may call it hypocrisy. Yet, some would even go to the extent of calling me “THE ENEMY OF PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI” or his “HATER.” But I can never be dissuaded from speaking just the simple truth. This is my religious orientation.

* Beware of the Politics of Idolatry

The Qur‘an teaches that whenever the love, longing, loyalty and submission which are due to Allah, are focused upon other than Him, or others along with Him, then this is shirk – idolatry; setting-up partners with Allah. For as Islam sees things, whoever loves something, desires it, values it, and centres their hopes, fears, love and loyalty around it; submitting to it independently of Allah, then this, for them, becomes a deity, a god, an object of sacrilegious worship. There are some who make a god of wealth. Some make politicians to be their gods. Others make gods of celebrities. Still others make gods of their egos and desires. The Qur’an asks:

“Have you seen him who takes his desires for his god?” [Qur’an, 25:43]

Of course we have seen them!

It is in this same vein that Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said:

“Whoever loves something and obeys it, loving and hating for its sake, then that is his god. Whoever loves or hates only for the sake of Allah, or forms allegiances and enmity only for Him, then Allah is his god in truth. But whoever’s loving or loathing revolves around his whims, forming enmity or allegiance on its basis, then these desires are his god that he worships.” [See Jami’ al-Ulum wal Hikam]

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Wassalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullah wa bara ka tuh

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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[Friday Sermon] Important Tips On How To Raise Children In The Islamic Way By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Raising children is no easy feat. If anything, it is one of the most demanding and complex of tasks, but it is also the most rewarding. With each child that comes into this world, each parent is entrusted with the obligation to raise that child in a way that ensures him/her to become a good Muslim and a good human being who will benefit the society. Parents have great leverage when it comes to what value system and principles they instill in their children which then take root throughout their adult life. The religion of Islam, therefore, holds all parents and caregivers responsible for the direction they steer their children in and whether it is in line with the teachings of the Noble Quran and the Sunnah of the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him).

Children are essentially an Amanah (Trust) from the Almighty Allah and a great responsibility. Hence, it is the duty of a parent to guide their offspring on the right path, and raise them to be God-conscious and good Muslims, who are an asset for their fellow brothers and sisters of the ummah and an asset to their society and their country. Every parent will be questioned regarding their offspring on the Day of Judgement. Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The amir (leader) who is over the people is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock; a man is a shepherd in charge of the inhabitants of his household and he is responsible for his flock; a woman is a shepherdess in charge of her husband’s house and children and she is responsible for them; and a man’s slave is a shepherd in charge of his master’s property and he is responsible for it. So each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

The blessing of offspring is one of the greatest worldly blessings that Allah favoured us with so it is obligatory to thank Him for that. We must use things He gave us according to what He ordered and legislated. That is why one of the greatest means of preserving the blessing and prolonging family ties in the Hereafter is to call them to the truth, strengthen them through beneficial knowledge, make them used to perform good actions and warning them from what harms them.

The legacy and teachings of an individual live on through his/her offspring and will do so until the hereafter. Then, would you not want to leave behind a righteous and God-fearing offspring? Abu Hurairah heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) saying:

“When a man dies, his action discontinues from him except three things, namely, perpetual sadaqah (charity), or the knowledge by which benefit is acquired, or a pious child who prays for him.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

In a lot of households, the greater emphasis is placed on the academic routine of the children, rather than the Islamic routine, which is essential for the personality development of the children. Hence, it is imperative that parents give their children a well-balanced upbringing, which in itself, seems like a daunting task. So here are a few practical tips for Muslim parents that can help them in raising their children the right way:

* If you want them to know kindness and love, it is essential for them to feel they are loved and treated kindly themselves. Love and kindness cannot be embedded in a child’s personality through forceful measures; rather it is instilled through the natural course of time and experience. Show them what it is to be merciful so they may learn from you first-hand. Allah (SWT) loves those who are kind and merciful. According to Aisha (RA), the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Verily Allah loves kindness in all things.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Children respond as they are treated. Being overly harsh and rude to your child will not have fruitful results and may cause alienation and disobedience in the child. Be open with them and maintain a relationship with them which is kind and understanding above all else.

* In the absence of rules and boundaries, everything would be rolling in utter chaos. This is true for your child as well. You need to lay down a set of rules for your child to guide his/her actions and behaviour. If the child does not know boundaries, he/she will naturally be inclined to do whatever he/she wants – be it right or wrong, and in turn, will be testing you every step of the way. The child should be well aware of what is right and what is wrong from the very beginning. Only then, will the child learn to adhere to the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not?

* Take time out to explain why something is good and why something is bad and explain the logic behind it – it will have a much bigger impact on the child! Reward their good behaviour but also scold them or give them a time out when they say or do something wrong. Do not reinforce wrong acts – the child must know that he/she has violated the set boundaries of acceptable behaviour and needs to face the consequences of it.

* You must practice what you preach. Parents must be very aware of their own attitude before trying to instill it in their children. Children look to their parents for guidance in absolutely everything, and hence, their parents become their primary role models. Be conscious of the kind of role model you are for your own children. Be aware of your habits and actions in your everyday life, because that is what your children will see you do and will, in turn, follow it themselves. In the eyes of your children, what you do is good and what you refrain from is not.

* The goodness in children needs to be nurtured and protected. Hence, it is the parent’s duty to guide the child towards what is right and what is not. If parents dedicate themselves to this responsibility of raising their child in accordance to Allah’s (SWT) teachings, the child will very likely continue down the path of righteousness and goodness in his/her life.

* Young children are very malleable. You may shape them however you want and if you start early, you can shape them in the best possible way. If the children are given the Islamic basics from a young age, they are more likely to develop life-long habits.

So start offering your salah with your children before they reach the age of seven (7). Make it a routine for them and mould it into becoming a part of their daily life, just like eating, drinking and sleeping. It will help them continue these habits in their adulthood as well. Be sure to teach them through practically showcasing it in your own life so they may follow you. Teach them to fast from an early age and recite the Quran on a daily basis (Even if it is just a page or two).

* Teach your children about all the acts of worship of Allah (SWT) and explain their significance so they may come to know Allah (SWT) and what it takes to grow closer to Him.

* Instill a sense of love for Allah (SWT) in the hearts of your children, rather than instilling the fear of Allah (SWT) predominantly. Do not force your children to follow the Islamic teachings by embedding fear of Allah (SWT) in them. Even though fear of Allah (SWT) is very important, it does not always produce the end result we expect in children, as they sometimes cannot understand the concept of it.

Therefore, tell your children about the endless love of Allah (SWT) and how much He loves them – even more than you. And having seen how much you love them, they will feel awe at the intensity of Allah’s (SWT) love for them. Tell them that Allah (SWT) is their best friend and will always protect and love them. As a result, their love for Allah (SWT) will come naturally to them and they will be more inclined to please Allah (SWT), know Him and follow his bidding.

And if people knew Allah pretty well, they would obey Him and seek to attain the Good pleasure of Him, but the demons of mankind and the jinn do everything in its power keeping people away from knowing Almighty Allah the creator.

* Make it a point to expose your children to those who are not as fortunate as you and teach them what it means to be a good Muslim; to have compassion, empathy, and love for everyone around you, and to help those who cannot help themselves. Let them absorb diversity and respect it. Do volunteer work with them so they learn how to be thankful of Allah’s (SWT) blessings and so it instills empathy in their hearts for those who are not as lucky as them.

* Teach them what it means to be grateful and the role that gratitude plays in each and every human being’s life. Devise and encourage a certain kind of platform for them which allows them to express that gratitude and use it to help others and be a source of comfort for the ummah and all the human being.

* In essence, every parent should do the best they can to make sure that their children turn out to be true inheritors of Islam and its teachings, and who will keep the spirit of Islam alive throughout their lives. Parental guidance and upbringing plays a very major role in the instilment of love for Allah’s (SWT) religion and the desire to worship Him. Your children can become your channel of salvation in the hereafter; the best gift any parent can ever get, which benefits them in this world and the hereafter, both.

Respected Servants of Allah ! In today’s world, it is commonplace to see dangerous behaviours of anger and aggression brewing in our children and their lack of control over it. One is often led to wonder what has lead to this uncharacteristic rise of anger in our children; perhaps it is the unhealthy lifestyles and excessive stress? Perhaps it is their negligence and inherent reaction to the rising issues in the modern world? However, parents tend to adopt the indifferent and impassive techniques of parenthood, avoiding conflict and giving in to their child’s demands, rather than getting to the root of the problem and understanding why their child is displaying aggressive reactions in the first place.

What we do not often realize is that children are heavily influenced by the behaviours of the parents themselves and they tend to instinctively internalize their parent’s behaviours. In most cases, the child illustrates angry reactions and aggressive behaviours as a reaction to the anger showcased by the mother or the father in their household. When a child misbehaves or acts out, the parents are often dumbfounded and tend to respond with even harsher words and actions, such as beating, as a means to ‘discipline’ their child.

Just like other human instincts, anger resides in an individual’s biological makeup since the very beginning. However, the level of this instinct’s expression and the display is an outcome of the environment and parenting style that the child has been exposed to. If the parents themselves generally adopt a more composed and calm approach in their daily lives, the child is less likely to act out in anger. Hence it becomes pertinent that parents focus on the pattern of the child’s aggressive behaviour and try to find out the cause behind it and work towards eliminating it.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! In order to work towards improving their child’s angry outbursts and behaviours, parents need to be cognizant of the following things in particular:

* If we believe ourselves to be the Ummah of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), we must also be aware of the fact that he never hit his wife, or servant, or a child, no matter what the circumstances. Perhaps, this in itself, goes to show how beating only festers the problem rather than rectifying it.

* Find the root of the problem and investigate why the child is acting out, instead of irrationally responding to the child’s behaviour being displayed at that point in time.

* We cannot expect our children to illustrate any sort of restraint and self-control if we, as parents, do not do the same in our daily lives. It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their child how to adopt a relaxed and calm approach in life, no matter what the issue at hand. Wallahi acting out in anger will not solve anything!

* Be sure to follow through with your own instructions as well. Parents are the basic role models for their children and their character building starts and ends with the parents.

* The tone that you utilize with your child, is the tone your child will instinctively copy. Instead of shouting, which further distresses them, resort to discussing your child’s feelings with them and talk about it. Our Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) never raised his voice, or lost his temper and was seen to always talk in a mild tone with elders and children alike.

* Do not be condescending with your children. As a parent, you should never look down upon your children or make them feel small or not worthy enough. That approach will shatter their developing self-esteem. Even if they misbehave, try to reason with them instead of blaming them. If you give your children respect, only then will you earn it in return.

The whole ordeal of bringing up a child is not a bed of roses. It can be tiresome and it can be a real test of this world. They have much to learn in their earlier years and patience is key to rear them up as good human beings. They do not know what is good for them and what is not. Don’t lose your temper with them, and practice patience.

Teach them little ways of curtailing their anger. For example, teach them calming techniques, to perform ‘wudu (ablution)’ if they feel angry, it will calm them down. Or to sit down if they are standing up. Or to take one minute and remain quiet and take deep breaths. If the child succeeds in calming himself/herself down, be sure to let them know how proud you are of them and reinforce that calming act with a token of achievement.

To feel anger is to be human and it is inevitable. But, it is important to note that feelings of anger are inevitable but angry reactions are not; one needs to be able to distinguish between the two. Controlling anger is one of the characters possessed by a true Muslim. According to our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]

So overcome anger in yourself and teach your children to do the same. Practice patience, love, and self-restraint and lead by example.

Dear Servants of Allah ! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumadal-Thani 7, 1439 AH (February 23, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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Sorry Valentine’s Day, Real Muslims Don’t Celebrate You, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servants and Messenger.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I see a lot of my brothers and sisters getting really prepared and excited to celebrate. I don’t get why. Does any of you really know why you’re celebrating Valentines Day? Just like how we know why we celebrate Eid.

There’s a very ugly truth behind this so called “Day of Love” that majority of Muslims don’t have a clue about. When they are asked this questions, the usual response is “We are celebrating our love, and making our loved ones happy on this special occasion, it’s just something nice.”

First of all, if you’re married, you don’t need some Christian Saint’s birthday to celebrate your love and happiness, you have everyday of the year, then why Valentine’s Day? If you are trying to celebrate your happiness, give blessings to each other, thank Allah that you have them in your life, pray for them, teach each other something about Islam, appreciate each other and not just one day on the 14th but EVERYDAY.

If you are not married, then you shouldn’t even be talking to girls/guys..forget going as far as discussing WHY you shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Our religion is very clear and very straight forward, and no one has the right to question the teachings of Islam. Valentine’s Day is haram, no matter how much a person would like to sugar-coat or paint it, wallahi it will stay Haram.

* What is it AND where did it come from?

Consider Valentine’s Day, a day that after dying out a well deserved death in most of Europe (but surviving in Britain and United States) has suddenly started to emerge across a good swath of Muslim countries and areas. Who was Valentine? Why is this day observed? Legends abound, as they do in all such cases, but this much is clear: Valentine’s Day began as a pagan ritual started by Romans in the 4th century BCE to honour the god Lupercus. The main attraction of this ritual was a lottery held to distribute young women to young men for “entertainment and pleasure”–until the next year’s lottery.

Among other equally despicable practices associated with this day was the lashing of young women by two young men, clad only in a bit of goatskin and wielding goatskin thongs, who had been smeared with blood of sacrificial goats and dogs. A lash of the “sacred” thongs by these “holy men” was believed to make them better able to bear children.

As usual, Christianity tried, without success, to stop the evil celebration of Lupercalia. It first replaced the lottery of the names of women with a lottery of the names of the saints. The idea was that during the following year the young men would emulate the life of the saint whose name they had drawn. (The idea that you can preserve the appearance of a popular evil and yet somehow turn it to serve the purpose of virtue, has survived.

Look at all those people who are still trying, helplessly, to use the formats of popular television entertainments to promote good. They might learn something from this bit of history. It failed miserably) Christianity ended up doing in Rome, and elsewhere, as the Romans did. The only success it had was in changing the name from Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day. It was done in CE 496 by Pope Gelasius, in honour of some Saint Valentine. There are as many as 50 different Valentines in Christian legends.

Two of them are more famous, although their lives and characters are also shrouded in mystery. According to one legend, and the one more in line with the true nature of this celebration, St. Valentine was a “lovers'” saint, who had himself fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter.

Due to serious troubles that accompanied such lottery, French government banned the practice in 1776. In Italy, Austria, Hungry, and Germany also the ritual vanished over the years. Earlier, it had been banned in England during the 17th century when the Puritans were strong.

However in 1660 Charles II revived it. From there it also reached the New World, where enterprising Yankees spotted a good means of making money. Esther A. Howland, who produced one of the first commercial American Valentine’s Day cards called— what else— valentines, in the 1840s, sold $5,000 worth–when $5,000 was a lot of money–the first year. The valentine industry has been booming ever since.

The history of Valentine’s Day serves as a powerful lesson for Muslims. St. Valentine became a Saint trying to resist free sex. Even though there was an attempt to Christianize it, today St. Valentine’s day is gone back to its roots. No one even knows that the Church even tried to ban the St. Valentine’s Day. Rather, most people think of romance, cupid and his arrow, which are vestiges of pagan Rome.

* Pagan origins of Valentine’s Day

The first information about this day is found in pre-Christian Rome, when pagans would celebrate the “Feast of the Wolf” on February 15, also known as the Feast of Lupercalius in honour of Februata Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, Roman god of nature.

On this day, young women would place their names in an urn, from which boys would randomly draw to discover their sexual companion for the day, the year, and sometimes the rest of their lives. These partners exchanged gifts as a sign of affection, and often married.

* Christian Influence

When Christianity came onto the scene in Rome, it wanted to replace this feast with something more in line with its ethics and morality. A number of Christians decided to use February 14 for this purpose. This was when the Italian Bishop Valentine was executed by the Roman Emperor Claudius II for conducting secret marriages of military men in the year 270.

Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so he outlawed marriage for young, single men, who made up his military. Valentine defied Claudius and performed marriages for young couples in secret. When his actions were revealed, Claudius put him to death. Another version of the story says that Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who helped Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

Valentine was arrested and sent to the prefect of Rome for this. He found that his attempts to make Valentine renounce his faith were useless, and so recommended he be beaten with clubs, and later beheaded. This took place on February 14, 270.

According to the Catholic encyclopaedia, there are at least three different Saint Valentines, all of whom are Christian martyrs of February 14. One of them is described as a priest from Rome (as mentioned above), another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and the third from Africa.

It was in the year 496 that Pope Gelasius officially changed the February 15 Lupercalia festival to the February 14 St. Valentine’s Day to give Christian meaning to a pagan festival. The holiday become popular in the United States in the 1800’s during the Civil War.

As well, Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the lottery for young women that would take place during the pagan festival. Instead of the names of young women, the box would have the names of saints. Men and women were allowed to draw from the box, and the purpose of this was to copy the ways of the saint they had selected for the rest of the year.

* Valentine’s Day Customs

A number of the customs connected to Valentine’s Day originate in the belief in England and France during the middle Ages, that on February 14, birds began to pair.

Fourteenth and 15th centuries’ French and English literatures make indirect references to the practice. Those who chose each other as husband and wife on Valentine’s Day apparently called each other their Valentines.

In terms of the Valentine’s greeting “Your Valentine” which today you find on a number of Valentine’s Day cards, the above-mentioned Roman priest Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself.

While he was in prison awaiting execution, he apparently fell in love with a young girl who would visit him. Before he died, he allegedly wrote her a letter, signed ‘From your Valentine,’ In terms of the virtually naked, arrow-shooting cupid character, which shoots people with its arrows to make them fall in love, this character is a vestige of Roman pagan times. Cupid was described as the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. You usually find Cupid’s picture on Valentine cards and other paraphernalia.

* Islamic Perspective

We should avoid anything associated with pagan immoral practices – We do not need to honour or celebrate the death of a Christian “saint” – Islam does not encourage flirting or suggestions of romantic relationships before marriage – Love between families, friends and married people does not need to be celebrated on a day with such un-Islamic origins.

Question: In recent times, celebration of the Valentine Day has spread, particularly among female students. It is a Christian celebration, and it is (manifested) with fully red costumes, clothing and shoes, and exchange of red roses. What is the ruling on celebrating this holiday ?

Answer: Celebrating the Valentine Day is not permissible because:

Firstly, it is an innovated holiday that has no basis in the Shari’ah.

Secondly, it calls to love and passion.

Thirdly, it calls to keeping one’s heart busy with nonsense matters which contradict the guidance of the righteous predecessors, may Allah be pleased with them.

So it is not permissible that anything from the signs of that holiday takes place on that day, whether it relates to eating, drinking, clothing, giving gifts, or other than that. It is incumbent upon the Muslim to be proud of his/her religion and that he/she does not blindly follow every crier. May Allah the Exalted protect Muslims from every trial, apparent and hidden, and that He give them protection and guidance. Ameen.

Question: Some people celebrate Yawm al-Hubb (Valentine’s Day) on February 14 [the second month of the Christian Gregorian calendar] every year by exchanging red roses as gifts. They also dress up in red clothing, and congratulate one another (on this occasion). Some sweet shops produce special sweets – red in colour – and draw hearts upon them. Some shops advertise their goods which are specially related to this day. What is the Islamic view [concerning the following]: Celebrating this day? Buying from these shops on this day? Selling – by shop-owners who are not celebrating – the things which are used as gifts, to those who are celebrating?

Answer: The clear evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah – and this is agreed upon by consensus (Ijmaa) of the early generations of the Muslim Ummah – indicates that there are only two Eids in Islam (days of celebration): Eid al-Fitr (after the fast of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (after the standing at Arafah for pilgrimage).

Every other Eid – whether it is to do with a person, group, incident or any other occasion – is an innovated Eid. It is not permissible for the Muslim people to participate in it, approve of it, make any show of happiness on its occasion, or assist in it in any way – since this will be transgressing the bounds of Allah:

“… And whoever transgresses the bounds of Allah, he has wronged his own self.” [Surah at-Talaq: 1]

If we add to this fabricated Eid the fact that it is one of the Eids of the disbelievers, it is sin upon sin. This is because it is Tashabbuh (imitation) of the disbelievers, and a type of Muwalat (loyalty) to them. And Allah has prohibited the believers from imitation of them and having loyalty for them in His Mighty Book (Qur’an). It is also confirmed from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that he said:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [Classed Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani]

Eid al-Hubb (the celebration of Valentine’s Day) comes under the category of what has been mentioned here, since it is one of the pagan Christian holidays. Hence it is not permissible for any Muslim, who believes in Allah and the Last Day, to participate in it, approve of it, or congratulate (anyone on that occasion). On the contrary, it is obligatory to abandon it and stay far away from it – in response to Allah and His Messenger, and to distance oneself from the anger of Allah and His punishment.

Additionally, it is forbidden for a Muslim to assist or help in this Valentine’s Day, or any other of the forbidden/illegal celebrations in any way whatsoever – whether by food or drink, selling or buying, production, gift-giving, correspondence, announcements, etc. All of these things are considered as co-operating in sin and transgression and disobedience of Allah and His Messenger. Allah, the Glorious and Most High, says:

“… And co-operate with one another in righteousness and piety, and do not co-operate in sin and transgression. And fear Allah! Verily Allah is severe in punishment.” [Surah al-Ma’idah: 2]

Likewise, it is obligatory for every Muslim to adhere strictly to the Qur’an and Sunnah in every situation – especially in times of temptations and corruption. It is incumbent that he/she understands, be aware and be cautioned from falling into the deviations of those whom Allah is angry with and those who are astray and the immoral people who have no fear of punishment – nor hope of reward – from Allah, and who give no attention at all to Islam.

It is necessary for the Muslim to flee to Allah, the Most High, seeking His Hidayah (Guidance) and Thabat (Firmness) upon the Path. Verily, there is no Guide except Allah and no One who can grant firmness except Him.

* Why do we Muslims do not celebrate Valentine’s day ???

This question may be answered in several ways:

1 – In Islam, the festivals are clearly defined and well established, and no additions or subtractions may be accepted. They are an essential part of our worship and there is no room for personal opinion. They have been prescribed for us by Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him). Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“Festivals are part of the laws, clear way and religious ceremonies of which Allah says: ‘To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.’ [Qur’an, 5:48] , and ‘For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies which they must follow.’ [Qur’an, 22:67]”

Like the Qiblah, Prayer and Fasting. So there is no difference between joining them in their festival and joining them in their other rituals. Agreeing with the whole festival is agreeing with disbelief. Agreeing with some of their minor issues is the same as agreeing with them in some of the branches of disbelief.

Festivals are the most distinctive things by which religions are told apart, so whoever celebrates their festivals is agreeing with the most distinctive rituals of disbelief. Undoubtedly, going along with them in their festivals may, in some cases, lead to disbelief. Dabbling in these things, at the very least, is a sin. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) referred to the fact that every nation has its own festivals when he said:

“Every nation has its own Eid and this is our Eid.” [Al-Bukhari]

Because Valentine’s Day goes back to Roman times, not Islamic times, this means that it is something which belongs exclusively to the Christians, not to Islam, and the Muslims have no share and no part in it. If every nation has its own festivals, as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Every nation has its Eid…” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] – then this means that every nation should be distinguished by its festivals.

If the Christians have a festival and the Jews have a festival, which belongs exclusively to them, then no Muslim should join in with them, just as he does not share their religion or their direction of prayer.

2 – Celebrating Valentine’s Day means resembling or imitating the pagan Romans, then the Christian People of the Book in their imitation of the Romans in something that was not part of their religion (Christianity). If it is not allowed to imitate the Christians in things that really are part of their religion – but not part of our religion – then how about things which they have innovated in their religion in imitation of idolaters?

Imitating non-Muslims in general – whether they are idolaters or People of the Book – is Haram, whether that imitation is of their worship – which is the most serious form – or of their customs and behaviour. This is indicated by the Quran, Sunnah and Ijmaa’:

(i) From the Qur’an: Allah says:

“And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.” [Qur’an, 3:105]

(ii) From the Sunnah: the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [Abu Dawud]

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“This Hadith at the very least indicates that it is Haram to imitate them, although the apparent meaning implies that the one who imitates them is non-Muslim, as Allah says: ‘And if any amongst you takes them friends (and helpers), then surely, he is one of them.’ [Qur’an, 5:5]”

(iii) With regard to Ijmaa’, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah narrated that there was agreement that it is Haram to imitate non-Muslims in their festivals at the time of the Prophet’s Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim narrated that there was scholarly consensus (Ijmaa) on this point.

3 – The love referred to in this festival ever since the Christians revived it is romantic love outside the framework of marriage. The result of that is the spread of fornication, adultery and immorality. Hence, the Christian clergy opposed it at some stage and abolished it, then it came back again.

Some people may wonder, and say: “You mean to deprive us of love, but in this day and age we express our feelings and emotions – what is so wrong with that?”

I say:

Firstly: It is a mistake to confuse what they call the day with what the real intentions are behind it. The love referred to on this day is romantic love, taking mistresses and lovers, boyfriends and girlfriends. It is known to be a day of promiscuity and sex for them, with no restraints or restrictions… They are not talking of pure love between a man and his wife or a woman and her husband, or at least they do not distinguish between the legitimate love in the relationship between husband and wife, and the forbidden love of mistresses and lovers. This festival for them is a means for everyone to express love.

Secondly: Expression of feelings and emotions is not a justification for the Muslim to allocate a day for celebration based on his own thoughts and ideas, and to call it a festival, or make it like a festival or Eid. So how about when it is one of the festivals of the non-Muslims?

In Islam, a husband loves his wife throughout the year, and he expresses that love towards her with gifts, in verse and in prose, in letters and in other ways, throughout the years – not just on one day of the year.

Thirdly: There is no religion which encourages its followers to love and care for one another more than Islam does. This applies at all times and in all circumstances, not just on one particular day. Indeed, Islam encourages us to express our emotions and love at all times, as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“If a man loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him.” [Abu Dawud]

And He (Peace be upon him ) said:

“By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of something that, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread Salam amongst yourselves.” [Muslim]

Fourthly: Love in Islam is more general and more comprehensive; it is not restricted only to one kind of love, that between a man and a woman. There are many more kinds of love. There is the love of Allah, love of His Messenger (Peace be upon him) and his Companions, love for good and righteous people, love and support for the religion, love of martyrdom for the Sake of Allah, etc. There are many kinds of love. It is a dangerous mistake to restrict this broad meaning to this one kind of love.

Fifthly: What these people think, that love before marriage is a good thing, is wrong, as has been proven in studies and by real-life experience.

So, how can we believe that Valentine’s Day is of any benefit to Muslims? The truth is that it is a call for more permissiveness, promiscuity and immorality, and the forming of forbidden relationships.

The husband who sincerely loves his wife does not need this holiday to remind him of his love. He expresses his love for his wife at all times and on all occasions.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Wassalamu Alaikum,

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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The Strong Relationship Between Justice And Peace, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance.

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion of Allah). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Know that, in the atmosphere of distrust around the world, the mankind could not stand with clash. During  world wars humanity witnessed a lot of bloodshed, massacre and  distrust. Cold war brought the war of ideologies (Capitalism-Communism) and  in  Post-cold  war  world,  the  consistent  use  of the terms ?”Terrorism” and ?”Extremism” at the political level and  the backlash it faced in the name of ?”War  against  terror” or  ?”Operation  desert  fox” or some other operations has put a big question mark on the peace process at the global level. The adherents of one ideology are scared of some different ideology.  The man of one thought is not in a position to believe the man of  different thought. Finally, the man of one faith or a religion gets  irritated with a man possessing a different faith.  At  the  end  of  the  day we can say that human beings are becoming ?”Intolerant.” The  process of intolerance has been growing  in each and every community of human beings. We all know about our intolerance,  but unfortunately we could not recognize the faults in one‘s own  community. To blame  “other” community is very easy because we have chosen ?”other” as our enemy. This is a sad slogan of the new  era ?”Other  is our enemy.” This  sort  of  mental outlook of the  people of new era is well  expressed  by  Samuel P. Huntington  while interpreting a paragraph of the Michael Dibdin‘s novel, Dead  Lagoon, as:

“There can be no true friends without true enemies. Unless we hate  what we are not we cannot love what we are. These are old truths  we are painfully rediscovering after a century….Those  who  deny  them deny their family, their heritage, their culture, their birthright,  and their very selves! They will not lightly be forgiven.” [See Clash of civilisations and remaking of the world order, by Samuel P. Huntington, page 20]

Are these truths truly reinvented by our statesmen and scholars? Can we identify ourselves only through knowing our enemies? Are  enemies essential in this new era of global politics? Does religion  helps us to identify ?”other”?

These are some of the important questions discovered in today’s politics.

For seeking identity and reinventing ethnicity, enemies are essential  and the potentially most dangerous hatred and animosity can be  found within the men possessing different religion, ethnicity, culture  or civilisation.

People who possess different ideologies and unfortunately share a  border have the maximum chances of creating a Fault Line. Most  of  these fault lines are said to exist  between Muslims and non-Muslims. Hence the biggest enemies to each other are Muslims  and non-Muslims. In this way scholars, politicians and academicians who carry such a view point, unite the  whole  world  against  Islam. If we put it straight, this is biased study towards the  knowledge  of  a civilisation. There are people who loath upon others  religion and civilisation with a vested interest.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Today, the Fulani herdsman has become the proxy unit for aggression and the expression of hate against Northern Muslims in Nigeria. And this is part of the strategy to contain, clip, cull and further weaken Muslims within the Nigerian community.

The onslaught is from all angles. Particularly noticeable is the glee with which some Igbos have found the opportunity to turn the tables against what they consider humiliating repression of the recent Kanu/IPOB uprising. This is matched and partnered by some Northern Christians political ebullience to reassert itself, against the background of recent marginalisation by the Buhari Government. These two are powerfully aided and abetted by some South Western ethnic politicians, with their powerful press – both traditional and social media. Powerful elements outside power, especially those under threat of corruption charges, provide some of the financial muscle and energy.

In all of this, religion is the main lever of manipulation. With history clearly being rewritten and Nigeria being misrepresented. An often told lie can begin to look like the truth, after all, especially to the vulnerable young, who know little or no history.

Today, the agenda has been set, of a Christian Nigeria, more than half the population in their claims, fighting a murderous and insidious “Islamist and Muslim design” to conquer Christians and deprive them of their ancestral lands. This is the false and insidious narrative, everywhere. And that this government is using state apparatus to aid this purported Fulani Islamic jihad. Foreign countries, especially in the West, are inundated with this false and dangerous propaganda.

They also disingenuously claim that this jihad is a continuation of the 1804 Shehu Usman Danfodio Jihad, which, itself, has now thoroughly been misrepresented by all sorts of ignorant opinion writers and speakers.

Respected Servants of Allah!  What is actually facing us today is a political rivalry whereby some powerful Christian politicians have chosen religion as their main weapon of fighting not only the Buhari regime, which we all knows, witnessed and agreed has its many mistakes, shortcomings, failings and failures, but to, majorly fight Northern Muslims for political power. And the Fulani herdsman has unfortunately become the proxy for this hate and enmity, and for this fight against Northern Muslims. This strategy to leverage religion to force political advantage, and to possibly wrest political control, has been made inevitable by the complete ineffectiveness of political parties today.

The danger is that this creates more violence in a country already severely challenged and weakened by terrorism, insurgency and violence everywhere.

Respected Servants of Allah! We are living in a world where there could obviously be more peace. As Muslims, we realize this fact more than most people, as the peace of many of our brothers and sisters in various parts of the globe has been tragically disrupted: Nigeria, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Libya and other locales. Similarly, we are living in a world where there could be more justice. We read almost daily of killing and assassinations in various parts of the world where terrorist groups, militias, military forces, or intelligence services, oftentimes in summary fashion, declare victims guilty and then proceed to execute them. Unfortunately, such unprincipled political behaviour has become increasingly common in both the foreign and domestic policies of many countries, causing untold damage to their image and credibility abroad.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! These two issues, peace and justice, are joined in the slogans we hear from many activists, in the world and especially here in Nigeria, “No Justice, No Peace!” This linkage is logical, as justice must be considered one of the indispensable prerequisites of any lasting peace. This article intends to briefly look at the ideas of peace and justice in Islam and explore their deeper significance in the life of a Muslim and his neighbour.

My Respected people! In the Arabic language, the word peace is derived from the radicals S-L-M. The scholars of language mention four closely related terms that can be derived from this origin: Salam, Salamah, Silm, and Salm. Imam Raghib al-Isfahani says in his lexicon of Qur’anic terms:

“As-Salm and as-Salamah mean freedom from any external or internal ruination.”

Based on that, he mentions that true peace will only exist in Paradise, for only there will there be perpetuity with no end, complete satisfaction with no need, perfect honour with no humiliation, and perfect health with no disease. In this regard, Allah is known as As-Salam, because He alone is described as being totally free from any defects or flaws. This understanding of true peace being a reality associated with a transformed world is also understood in both Jewish and Christian theology.

At the level of interstate relations, if we ponder the above definition, we can consider peaceful relations between nations as a condition where violence, a state inevitably involving both internal and external ruination, is absent. In this sense, war can be viewed as an aberrational state. The aberrational nature of war is made clearer if we consider that murder, the ultimate consequence of war, is considered an innovation that destroyed the peace formerly existing among the human family. It is stated in a Prophetic Hadith that:

“No soul is killed unjustly, except that the elder son of Adam (Cain) shares in the stain of the crime. That is because he was the first to innovate murder [in the human family].”

At the individual level, peace can be viewed as an absence of the ruinations of the heart. One free from such ruinations will succeed, Allah-willing, when he/she meets his/her Lord. Therefore, he/she will enter safely into the Abode of Peace (Dar as-Salam). Allah says in that regard:

“[On] the day no amount of wealth or children will be of any benefit. [The only one benefited] will be one who comes before Allah with a sound (salim) heart.” [Quran, 26:89]

If one reflects on these meanings, it should be clear that the wars that Muslims have been involved in throughout our long history do not nullify the validity of the statement:

“Islam is the religion of peace.”

What is meant by that expression, and Allah knows best, is that Islam provides a path for the human being to enter Paradise (Dar as-Salam), and there he/she will know true peace.

Respected Servants of Allah! Peace has meanings wider than those mentioned above. One of the loftier objectives of our religion is to introduce into the world an ethos that facilitates the spreading of peace at every level. Our personal relations with our fellow Muslims should begin with the implementation of the Prophetic order:

“Spread peace between you all.”

This order is so pressing that the Beloved Prophet – advised its indiscriminate implementation. He said at the end of a Hadith in which he described one of the best forms of Islam:

“Extend the greeting of peace, to those you know and those you know not.”

This is a very weighty matter that calls for our deeper reflection. Its weightiness is illustrated by the fact that it is mentioned as being one of the things that completes our faith. The Prophet said in that regard:

“You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I indicate to you something that will surely lead to your mutual love? Spread the greeting and spirit of peace between yourselves.”

Our relations with our spouses should also be characterized by peace. Allah admonishes us concerning those relations:

“And peace is best.” [Quran, 4:128]

Similarly, in our relations with other warring nations, Allah commands us:

“If they (the enemy) incline towards peace, then you should similarly incline, and place your trust in Allah.” [Quran, 8:61]

As mentioned above, peace is the original state that prevailed in relations between individuals and societies. This opinion is based, among other narrations, on the saying of the Prophet that Jesus:

“Will return the world to a state of peace” (Yurji’ as-Salim) after his appearance at the end of time.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Our lexicographers define justice, variously, as:

“To rule and to judge based on that contained in the Book of Allah and the tradition (Sunnah) of His Messenger and refraining from ruling and judging based on empty opinion.”

It is also defined as:

“Extending inherent rights [to their possessors] equitably.”

This latter definition emphasizes the importance of equity as an essential aspect of distributive justice.

The concept of justice is one of the essential pillars in the maintenance of both the natural and social orders. Allah, be He Exalted, has said:

“He has established the scale, therefore, do not transgress in the scale [of justice]. Undertake the measuring with justice and do not cheat concerning the scale.” [Quran, 55:7-8]

Justice, as many of our scholars point out, is one of the underpinnings of the order that has been established by Allah. This reality is also a foundation of a healthy social order. Allah says in that regard:

“O You who believe! Be upright for Allah, witnesses to justice; and do not let your hatred of a people move you to a position where you are unjust. Be just, that is closer to piety. Be mindful of Allah! Verily Allah is well informed concerning all that you do.” [Quran, 4:135]

This social aspect of justice has been beautifully summarized by Imam al-Qurtubi. He says, discussing the relationship between two words that are usually translated as justice (al-Adl), and distributive justice (al-Qist):

“Justice is the basis of all human relations and a foundation of Islamic rule.”

This saying is illustrative of the meaning conveyed by the saying of Allah:

“Verily, we have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and we have revealed unto them the Scripture and the Balance in order that they lead people with justice…” [Quran, 57:25]

Imam al-Mawardi has summarized the social implications of distributive justice in the following way:

“One of the things that reforms worldly affairs is the principle of distributive justice. It facilitates amicable relations between people, engenders obedience to the Divine Law, and brings about the prosperity, progress and development of countries. It is the basis of a thriving economy, strong families, and stable government. Nothing devastates the land nor corrupts the mind as quickly as tyranny. That is because there are no acceptable limits [to regulate tyranny].” [Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah of Imam al-Mawardi]

For this reason, Imam Ibn Taymiyya sees the responsibilities of Islamic government emanating from a single verse in the Qur’an:

“Allah enjoins that you deliver the Trusts to their rightful possessors. And when you rule over [or judge between] people, that you do so with justice…” [Quran, 4:58]

The Noble Prophet has said in this context:

“Surely the most beloved of people with Allah and the closest to Him on the Day of Resurrection will be a just leader. And the most hated of people and the furthest removed from Him will be a tyrannical leader.”

Clearing himself from even an inadvertent association with oppressive, unjust acts, our beloved Prophet is reported to have said:

“You bring your disputes to me for adjudication; perhaps one of you is less eloquent than another, and I rule against the wronged party on the basis of what I have heard. Therefore, if I inadvertently grant one of you something owed to his brother do not take it, for I am granting him something that constitutes a piece of Hellfire.”

Our impeccably just Khalifa Umar bin al-Khattab uttered the following penetrating words:

“Verily, Allah sets forth parables for you, and He directs admonition towards you in order that hearts will be quickened. Surely, the hearts are dead until Allah quickens them. Justice has signs and portents. As for its signs, they are shyness, generosity, humility, and gentleness. As for its portents, they are embodied in mercy. He has [likewise] made for every affair a gate, and He has made that gate accessible by providing a key. The gate of justice is a deep consideration of consequences, and its key is otherworldliness. Consideration of consequences ultimately involves remembering death and preparing for it by freely parting from one’s wealth. Otherworldliness involves dealing justly with everyone and being satisfied with what suffices. If one is not satisfied with what suffices him, no abundance will ever enrich him.”

Much of this discussion has focused on distributive justice. However, the Qur’an also places great emphasis on commutative justice. Allah commands us:

“Do not be moved by partiality to discriminate in meting out divinely legislated punishments.” [Quran, 24:2]

The Prophet Muhammad mentioned that one of the reasons behind the ruination of a nation is a lack of commutative justice. In this context, he mentioned that even if his very daughter were to steal, he would not hesitate to punish her to the full extent of the law.

In summary, this brief discussion should make it clear to any Muslim and non Muslim that peace and justice are comprehensive concepts with deep implications and we have to be people committed to peace and justice. We must clearly illustrate to the world that our religions are indeed the religions of peace. However, our striving for peace must never allow us to be unjust, nor should it allow us to passively accept injustices. We must take a stand for justice, as we are ordered in the Qur’an:

“Be you upright supporters of justice…” [Quran, 4:135]

However, that stand must go far beyond slogans, such as the one mentioned at the beginning of this article, and move into the realm of positive action; action inspired by the Qur’an and the words and deeds of our illustrious Prophet (Peace be upon him).

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Allah is our witness, we warned those state governments who want to ban the cattle rearing in their states, that the law will plunge their states into a war, but they refused to listen to us and went ahead to ban it. We also warned that the Fulani’s patience and silence over recent killings of their kinsmen in Adamawa, Taraba etc, should not be misconstrued for fear or weakness. We also called for thorough investigation into the recent killings in four Numan villages. We also warned about the massacre of the dozens of women and children of fulanis in Shaforon, Kikem and Kodemti villages. We warned that government and other relevant security authorities should thoroughly investigate those involved and bring the perpetrators to book for fear of reprisal attacks and for peace to reign.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! For Allah’s sake What happened to Fulanis in Mambilla, Sardauna, in Taraba State? What happened to them in Numan?  And what is happening to them of killing, raping their wives and children, and stealing their cows in many states and many places in Nigeria? Why if the fulani man have been killed in Nigeria nobody will say anything? Why denying them freedom and justice in their own country? Why all this hate, hatred and enmity towards the fulanis? Are they not Nigerians? Are they strangers? Are they not human being like all of us? Why, why, why please? Haba! Let us fear Allah!! You see, at many points in our history, we make mistakes of confusing patience for fear or weakness. I hope, we would not make that mistake this time; what happened in Adamawa, Taraba, etc, to fulanis, would not go unpunished, let us be just, because in the absence of justice there must be a problem.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! We must come together and rise above ethnicities and religious bigotry for us to live peacefully with one another, and to know that Allah created us in different so that we may know and understand one another. Attacking, Killing, maiming and destroying each other or our property does not make us better than one another. We all are guilty and must repent and learn to live with one another as provided by our Constitution. We, as Muslims and Christians are a prayerful people, so please we should continue praying and resolving our differences in a civilised ways. May Almighty Allah help us in this direction. Ameen Ya Rabb!

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

May the peace, blessings and mercy of Allah be upon you all.

Your Brother:

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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